Bengal stare down barrel versus Madhya Pradesh
Bengal have a mountain to climb on the final day of their Ranji Trophy semi-final clash against Madhya Pradesh, being played in Alur near Bangalore. On Saturday, the last day of the game, Bengal will need 254 runs to post a win. But the problem is, they are already four wickets down in their second innings.
At stumps on Friday, Bengal, chasing a target of 350, were 96/4.
Captain Abhimanyu Easwaran was at the crease batting on 52, with the much-experienced Anustup Majumdar (8 batting) for company. Beyond this pair, Bengal will have to bank on all-rounders like Shahbaz Ahmed and Sayan Mondal if they are to stage a comeback into the game.
Madhya Pradesh have a definite upper hand. Bengal cannot even play for a draw since in that case Madhya Pradesh will be advancing to the final on the basis of their first innings lead.
On a difficult fourth day track, Easwaran played a fighting knock even as opposition left-arm spinner Kumar Kartikeya picked up three wickets. Bengal, however, were unfortunate to lose the wicket of an in-form Sudip Gharami (19), who was given out lbw despite the ball, which anyway was out of line, hitting his gloves.
Earlier in the day, Bengal spinners brought a swift end to Madhya Pradesh’s second innings. Shahbaz and Pradipta Pramanik shared nine wickets between them. Bengal skipper Easwaran, however, is optimistic of pulling off a victory.
Madhya Pradesh 341 & 281 (Shahbaz Ahmed 5/79, Pradipta Pramanik 4/65). Bengal 273 & 96/4 (Abhimanyu Easwaran 52 batting; Kumar Kartikeya 3/35). At stumps, Day IV.