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Bengal need 374, Mumbai eight wickets
- Ranadeb eclipses Utpal

Mumbai: Miracles do happen and that is what the Bengal brigade is looking up to. Chasing Mumbai’s 472, the visitors notched 98 for two on Day III of the Ranji Trophy Super League final at the Wankhede, Sunday. After Bengal’s first-innings debacle, Mumbai were all out for 294 with Rohit Sharma (57) top-scoring for the hosts.

Captain Deep Dasgupta and Arindam Das looked a determined pair while coming out in Bengal’s second essay. Deep, after his first innings duck, scored a spotless unbeaten 43, peppered with six clean boundaries. Manoj Tewari (19 batting) lent the helping hand.

Das, on the other hand, couldn’t capitalise the start and departed for 10 while trying to slash Wilkin Mota away from the body. Avishek Jhunjhunwala (20) was the next man to follow Das, after playing a confident knock which saw three fours. It was hard luck for the right-hander as Jhunjhunwala was a victim of umpire GA Pratapkumar’s wrong judgement. Trying to hit Ramesh Powar, he missed the line and the ball wrapped on his outstretched pads after taking an inside edge. Jhunjhunwala, incidentally, became the second highest scorer for Bengal this season, with 473 runs under his belt. The highest, by the way, is that of Tewari (721 till Day III).

Earlier in the day, Ranadeb Bose eclipsed Utpal Chatterjee’s record haul of 52 wickets for Bengal in 1999-00 Ranji Trophy season. Ranadeb (5/71) also equalled Chatterjee’s six five-wicket hauls in a season. Ranadeb’s effort helped Bengal skittle out Mumbai for 294 setting a 472-run target.

The day didn’t start too bad for Bengal with a wicket as early as in the seventh over. It was again Ranadeb who struck the first blow when he caught Wasim Jaffer (53).

First innings hero Sachin Tendulkar came in next. He had few hiccups before making 43 off 63, which included seven boundaries. Sourav Sarkar, meanwhile, got rid of Wilkin Mota for 15 with the team total reading 160 for four.

In the 50th over of Mumbai’s second essay, Sachin was hit on the left side of his helmet after misreading Ashok Dinda’s pace. The Maestro however was quick to retaliate: In the very next ball, Sachin pulled the seamer for a four.

The very next over, Sachin got a life when Sarkar dropped the former off his own bowling. Sachin was on 29 at that time. He however didn’t last long as Sourashish Lahiri did the trick in his very first over when Sachin spooned the ball to Manoj at cover.

Ala Zaheer Khan — who admitted that he has a psychological edge over Sourav — it seems Lahiri too has gained similar upper hand over the Master Blaster. For record, Lahiri dismissed Sachin thrice including the first innings one here. The offie had deceived the Sachin in the Challenger Series 2006-07 after the latter posted 139 for the India Blues. Lahiri thus equalled Chatterjee’s feat of dismissing Sachin thrice in domestic circuit.

Mumbai captain Amol Muzumdar was next to depart with Ranadeb taking over the charge of the proceedings. Muzumdar made 37. With the lower middle-order not being able to convert 30s into big scores, Mumbai’s innings folded rather unexpectedly.

Abhishek Nair was the seventh Mumbaikar to return. Nair was dismissed by Sarkar for 34. Ranadeb and Sarkar then polished off the tail sharing the last three wickets among themselves. Randeb completed his five-wicket haul for the sixth time in the season (five in consecutive matches) with the wickets of Ajit Agarkar and Zaheer, while Powar was shown the door by Sarkar.

Ranadeb finished his Ranji Trophy campaign with 57 wickets, highest for Bengal so far, while his partner Sarkar finished with 27 from five outings. Dinda managed 16 wickets from seven matches.

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