MP set Mumbai date in semifinals

Cricket Ranji Trophy

 Skipper Manoj Tiwary and lower order batsman Pankaj Shaw cracked individual hundreds but could not save Bengal from suffering a huge 355-run defeat against Madhya Pradesh on the fifth day of their Ranji Trophy quarterfinal tie here on Sunday.

Starting the final day on 113 for 3 and chasing an improbable victory target of 788, Bengal were kept in the fight till the extended tea session by Tiwary (124), Shaw (118) and Ashok Dinda (52) before they folded up for 432.

Lanky pacer Ishwar Pandey once again led the bowling honours for Madhya Pradesh with a haul of 4 for 93 to add to his first innings tally of 4 for 45, while debutant pacer Chandrakant Sakure finished with a match haul of six wickets that included his second innings 3 for 114.

Madhya Pradesh, who thus recorded their second outright win over Bengal in nine outings in the Ranji Trophy, now take on 40-time champions Mumbai in the semifinals commencing at the Barabati stadium in Cuttack on February 13.

When play started on the final day, the only point of interest was whether Bengal — similar to last year when they denied MP an outright win — could repeat the feat.
The loss of two wickets in successive overs pegged them back but Tiwary, who stroked his way to 14 fours and 3 sixes in 161 balls, and Shaw — who was the last batsman to be dismissed after facing 137 balls and striking 13 fours and four sixes — put on 108 for the sixth wicket to prolong the fight.

Tiwary fell seven minutes before lunch in trying to hit Pandey, whom he had smacked for two sixes off successive balls last evening, for a maximum over mid-off and was caught.

After lunch, Shaw kept one end up, adding 58 runs with Pragyan Ojha (27) for the seventh wicket and 78 for the next wicket with Dinda, who used the long handle to smack ten fours in his 42-ball cameo.

The game ended when Pandey caught and bowled Shaw with the second new ball soon after dismissing Dinda while Sakure accounted for Veerpratap Singh.

Brief scores: Madhya Pradesh: 348 all out and 560/ 9 decl bt Bengal 121 all out and 432 all out (Sayan Mondal 39, Manoj Tiwary 124, Pankaj Shaw 118, Ashok Dinda 52; Ishwar Pandey 4-93, Chandrakant Sakure 3-114, Jalaj Saxena 2-96).

Final four

In Cuttack: Mumbai vs Madhya Pradesh.
In Vadodara: Saurashtra vs Assam.
Note: Semifinals are scheduled on February 13-17.

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