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Ranji Trophy 2022-23, Semi-finals: Bengal set up title clash with Saurashtra

Ranji Trophy 2022-23, Semi-Finals: Bengal beat defending champions Madhya Pradesh, while Saurashtra get the better of Karnataka.

Ranji Trophy 2022-23, BAN vs MP: Akash Deep helps Bengal beat Madhya Pradesh; Bengal enter into Ranji Finals  | Walking Wicket (Images: ©CabCricket/Twitter)
Akash Deep helps Bengal beat Madhya Pradesh (Images: ©CabCricket/Twitter)

After two months of intense and entertaining cricket, the Ranji Trophy 2022-23 has finally found its finalists. Bengal defeated defending champions Madhya Pradesh in the first semi-final to set up a title clash with Saurashtra, who overcame the challenge posed by Karnataka in the second semi-final. Both the semis were outright wins: Bengal won by 306 runs, while Saurashtra won by 4 wickets.

Let’s scan the top performances with bat and ball from either side in the semi-final games of Ranji Trophy 2022-23.

Bengal vs Madhya Pradesh, SF 1, Indore: Akash Deep guides Bengal to the final

Brief Scores: Bengal 438 (Anustup Majumdar 120, Sudip Kumar Gharami 112, Kumar Kartikeya 3/95) & 279 (Anustup Majumdar 80, Saransh Jain 6/103) beat Madhya Pradesh 170 (Saransh Jain 65, Akash Deep 5/42) & 241 (Rajat Patidar 52, Pradipta Pramanik 5/51) by 306 runs

Player of the Match: Akash Deep (5/42 & 1/18)

In the first semi-final played at the Holkar Stadium in Indore from February 8, Bengal won the toss and chose to bat first. The decision to bat first was vindicated as Bengal piled up 307/4 at stumps on the first day. Anustup Majumder (120) and Sudip Kumar Gharami (112) posted a ton each on the first day, but were dismissed within the space of 7 balls in the last session. The two posted a stand of 241 runs for the third wicket. On the second day, Bengal stretched the total to 438 with the help of Abhishek Porel’s 51 and captain Manoj Tiwary’s 42.

Akash Deep then took a five-wicket haul to help Bengal bowl out MP for just 170 in the first innings. Saransh Jain scored 65 in a disappointing batting performance from defending champions Madhya Pradesh.

However, despite taking a first-innings lead of 268, Bengal didn’t enforce the follow-on and chose to bat again. Anustup again came good with the bat, scoring 80, while Sudip contributed with 41. Pradipta Pramanik made a 101-ball 60 not out with 3 fours and 5 sixes before Bengal were all out for 279, setting a target of 548 runs for Madhya Pradesh. Saransh Jain took 6/103 for MP.

Madhya Pradesh’s second innings crumbled on the fifth day, being bowled out for 241, to lose the match by 306 runs. Pradipta Pramanik was the best bowler for Bengal, taking 5/51. However, Akash Deep walked away with the player of the match honours for his match haul of 6/60.

Karnataka vs Saurashtra, SF 2, Bengaluru: Captain Arpit Vasavada guides Saurashtra into the final

Brief Scores: Saurashtra 527 (Arpit Vasavada 202, Vidwath Kaverappa 5/83) & 117/6 (Arpit Vasavada 47*, Vasuki Koushik 3/32) beat Karnataka 407 (Mayank Agarwal 249, Chetan Sakariya 3/73) & 234 (Nikin Jose 109, Chetan Sakariya 4/45) by 4 wickets

Player of the Match: Arpit Vasavada (202, 47*)

In the second semi-final played at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru, home team Karnataka were put into bat by Saurashtra and were reduced to 112/5 before skipper Mayank Agarwal played a captain’s innings to steady the ship. He scored 249 being the last batter dismissed at the team’s score of 407. Srinivas Sharath supported his captain with 66. Chetan Sakariya was the star bowler for Saurashtra, taking 3/73.

Saurashtra then replied with 527 to take a first-innings lead of 120. Saurashtra captain Arpit Vasavada led from the front, scoring 202, putting a stand of 232 runs for the fourth wicket with Sheldon Jackson (160). Vidwath Kaverappa took 5/83 for Karnataka.

In the second innings, Karnataka could manage just 234, setting a target of 115 runs for Saurashtra. For Karnataka, Nikin Jose made 109 as Sakariya took 4/45.

However, Karnataka gave a fright to Saurashtra, reducing the visitors to 42/5 before captain Vasavada took the team across the finish line with a knock of 47*; he was ably supported by Sakariya who contributed with a vital 24. The Saurashtra skipper was adjudged player of the match for his twin knocks of 202 and 47*.

Bengal will now take on Saurashtra in the final on February 16 at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata.

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