Bengal rout Jharkhand, to face Madhya Pradesh in Ranji semifinals
3rd February 2023
A dominant Bengal team stormed into their third successive Ranji Trophy semifinals after a thumping nine-wicket victory over Jharkhand in the quarterfinal clash at the Eden Gardens on Friday.
The star of the match was Akash Deep, who wrecked the visitors' batting line-up with four wickets in the first innings followed by two in the second. Shahbaz Ahmed was also impressive both with the bat and ball, smashing a fine 81 and picking two wickets in the match.
After bowling Jharkhand out for 221 in their second innings, Bengal needed just 67 to win.
The home side went over the line in style scoring 69/1 in 12.4 overs in the fourth day.
The Laxmi Ratan Shukla-coached side will next face Madhya Pradesh in the last-four clash at the Holkar Stadium in Indore starting on Wednesday.
Earlier, resuming the day from overnight score of 162/7, Jharkhand managed to add 59 runs in the morning before their innings folded.
Supriyo Chakraborty (41 not out) gave the visitors some hope, but Bengal bowlers were clinical in getting their job done.
Akash Ghatak was the pick of the bowlers bagging three wickets while Akash Deep and Shahbaz claimed two each.
Needing just 67 to win, Kazi Junaid Saifi (4) fell cheaply in the 4th over.
But Abhimanyu Easwaran (28) and Sudip Kumar Gharami (26), continuing their fine form, remained unbeaten to guide Bengal to a comfortable victory.
Bengal head coach Laxmi Ratan Shukla was happy with the team's show but wants his boys to stay grounded ahead of the semis clash.
"There is a long way to go. Manoj Tiwary is leading well from the front. The trust and belief in our dressing room is what is driving us ahead. The mood within the team is fantastic. As a team, we are ready to take up the challenge in the semifinals," LR Shukla said.
Skipper Manoj was also optimistic about his team's chances.
"We have only one dream, to win the Ranji title. There is always room for improvement. We will look to keep ourselves prepared well in all the departments along with a mindset to become champions," Manoj said.
CAB MEDIA DESK