After four quarterfinals last week, the semifinal stage of Ranji Trophy 2021-22 starts from Tuesday, with Bengal facing a challenge from Madhya Pradesh at KSCA Cricket Ground in Alur, while 41-time champions Mumbai will take on Uttar Pradesh at the Just Cricket Ground in Bengaluru.
While Bengal took first innings lead against Jharkhand after posting a mammoth 773/7 declared, Madhya Pradesh had a resounding ten-wicket win against Punjab. On the other side, Mumbai thrashed Uttarakhand by 725 runs while Uttar Pradesh advanced after defeating Karnataka by five wickets.
For Bengal, everything clicked well in their quarterfinal against Jharkhand. Their top nine batters, Abhimanyu Easwaran, Abhishek Raman, Sudip Gharami (186), Anustup Majumdar (117), Manoj Tiwary, Abhishek Porel, Shahbaz Ahmed, Sayan Mondal and Akash Deep scored fifty-plus runs each in the first innings, establishing a world record in first-class cricket.
The bowlers, led by Mondal and Ahmed picked, 4/71 and 4/51 respectively to bowl out Jharkhand for 298. Batting again, Tiwary batted superbly for 136 as Bengal got a first innings lead to qualify for semifinals.
For Madhya Pradesh, they had positives in Shubham Sharma’s magnificent 102-run knock in the first innings, followed by a 6/50 from Kumar Kartikeya Singh in the second innings to bowl out Punjab for 203 and then the openers raced to 26/0 in 5.1 overs to seal an emphatic ten-wicket win.
On the other side, Mumbai benefitted from debutant Suved Parkar’s 252 and a fantastic 153 from tournament’s leading run-scorer Sarfaraz Khan powered them to 647/8d in their first innings. Uttarakhand were bowled out for 114 and 69 in both innings after Mumbai declared at 261/3, with Yashasvi Jaiswal making 103, his maiden first-class century.
Uttar Pradesh, meanwhile, chased a tricky 213 against a star-studded Karnataka side, thanks to an unbeaten 93 from captain Karan Sharma. Karnataka, with IPL and international stars like Mayank Agarwal, Karun Nair, Manish Pandey, Shreyas Gopal and K Gowtham, posted 253 in their first innings.
Despite being bowled out for 155 in first innings, Uttar Pradesh bounced back in stunning fashion to bowl out Karnataka for 114 in the second innings, paving the way for a semifinals spot, thanks to Sharma’s captain’s knock.
With four teams high on confidence, expect the semifinals to be a riveting affair to decide who advances for the title clash from June 22 to 26.
Bengal: Abhishek Raman, Abhimanyu Easwaran (captain), Sudip Kumar Gharami, Anustup Majumdar, Manoj Tiwary, Abhishek Porel (wicketkeeper), Shahbaz Ahmed, Sayan Mondal, Akash Deep, Ishan Porel, Mukesh Kumar, Sudip Chatterjee, Writtick Chatterjee, Koushik Ghosh, Mohammed Kaif, Karan Lal, Pradipta Pramanik, Nilkantha Das and Ritwik Chowdhury
Madhya Pradesh Squad: Yash Dubey, Himanshu Mantri (wicketkeeper), Shubham S Sharma, Rajat Patidar, Aditya Shrivastava (captain), Akshat Raghuwanshi, Saransh Jain, Puneet Datey, Kumar Kartikeya, Anubhav Agarwal, Gaurav Yadav, Mihir Hirwani, Ishwar Pandey, Arshad Khan, Kuldeep Sen, Rameez Khan, Parth Sahani, Ajay Rohera and Rakesh Thakur
Mumbai: Prithvi Shaw (captain), Yashasvi Jaiswal, Armaan Jaffer, Suved Parkar, Sarfaraz Khan, Shams Mulani, Tanush Kotian, Tushar Deshpande, Dhawal Kulkarni, Mohit Avasthi, Prashant Solanki, Royston Dias, Aakarshit Gomel, Hardik Tamore (wicketkeeper), Arjun Tendulkar, Prasad Pawar, Sachin Yadav, Siddharth Raut, Shashank Attarde, Bhupen Lalwani, Aman Hakim Khan, Sairaj Patil and Dhrumil Matkar