Ranji Trophy Kartikeya leads Madhya Pradesh to 174 run win over Bengal, sets up title clash with Mumbai

Bengaluru, June 18 : Kumar Kartikeya Singh picked up a five-wicket haul in the semi-final of Ranji trophy 2021/22 and led Madhya Pradesh to beat Bengal by 174 runs and reach the final of the tournament for the first time since 1998/99. Madhya Pradesh will now take on 41-time champions Mumbai at the Chinnaswamy Stadium from June 22 to 26. After picking up a six-wicket haul against Punjab in the quarter-final last week, Kartikeya sizzled again in the second innings of a Ranji Trophy knockout match this season, picking 5/67 in 32 overs to bowl out Bengal for 175 in 65.2 overs. The start of Saturday's proceedings was delayed due to overnight rain until the clock struck 10:45am. Madhya Pradesh instantly had success on the second ball of the day, with Gaurav Yadav taking out Anustup Majumdar on an expansive drive nicked behind to keeper Himanshu Mantri. But Bengal tried to delay the inevitable through its last recognised batting pair of captain Abhimanyu Easwaran, who top-scored with 78 and Shahbaz Ahmed showing resistance with an unbeaten 22. The duo batted well for putting a stand of 38 runs for the sixth wicket. But post-lunch, Easwaran's stoic resistance ended when Kartikeya knocked over his stumps with a delivery that kept low, with off-stump uprooted. Post his fall, Kartikeya and Gaurav Yadav wiped off the tail, triggering a collapse from 135/6 to 175 all out. Meanwhile, in the other semi-final, Mumbai batted till the declaration happened at 533/4 in 156 overs, with Sarfaraz Khan and Shams Mulani making unbeaten scores of 59 and 51 respectively. As soon as Mulani got his fifty, Mumbai and Uttar Pradesh players shook hands as the semi-final ended in a draw. It meant that Mumbai sealed their qualification to the final on the basis on first innings lead taken in a drawn affair after bowling out Uttar Pradesh for 180. Now the stage is all set for a grand final in Bengaluru between Madhya Pradesh, coached by Chandrakant Pandit and Mumbai, coached by Amol Mazumdar. Mumbai have lifted the Ranji Trophy eight times since Madhya Pradesh last played in the final of the tournament. Now, these two teams, who have been consistent throughout the tournament, will face-off against each other for the coveted silverware. Brief Scores: Madhya Pradesh 341 and 281 beat Bengal 273 and 175 all out in 65.2 overs (Abhimanyu Easwaran 78, Kumar Kartikeya Singh 5/67), by 174 runs. Mumbai 393 & 533/4 decl (Yashasvi Jaiswal 181, Armaan Jaffer 127) drew with Uttar Pradesh 180, lead by 746 runs (Mumbai qualify on first innings lead) /IANS


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