Ranji Cup: Akash Deep’s five points put Bengal in the driver’s seat ahead of Madhya Pradesh
Bengali speedrunner Akash Deep bowling a game-changing spell on his way to the five-stroke track to put his team at the helm against defending champion Madhya Pradesh in the semi-finals of the Ranji Trophy on Friday. Akash Deep (5/42), who played a key role in their win over Jharkhand in the quarterfinals, upset Madhya Pradesh’s recovery action led by overnight hitter Saransh Jain (65), Win two hits in two balls. He uprooted Jain and in the next ball, Kumar Kartikeya stuck in the front foot to breathe life into Bengal’s lackluster attack, which also featured Ishan Porel and Mukesh Kumar.
He won his fourth 5-stroke in first-class cricket eliminating Avesh Khan before Madhya Pradesh was knocked out 170 when their 11th hitter Gaurav Yadav ran out.
Bengal took a huge lead in the first leg with 268 runs but captain Manoj Tiwary failed to execute further.
Bengal finished the third day with a score of 59-2, with a total of 327 runs to get closer to the final.
The last time the two-time champion Ranji team reached the final was in 2020, where they lost to Saurashtra.
Bengal has yet to win the Ranji Trophy since 1989-90.
Like the first innings, the opening duo of Abhimanyu Easwaran (19) and Karan Lal (17) left the field in quick succession.
The first half centurion duo of Sudip Gharami (12 hits) and Anustup Majumdar (9 hits) were in the balance with two days left.
Previously continuing with an overnight score of 56 to 2, night watchman Anubhav Agarwal left with just two additional runs after passing Mukesh Kumar once.
On the other end, Akash Deep knocked out Rajat Patidar for a duck, while left-arm spinner Shahbaz Ahmed eliminated MP captain Aditya Srivastava (7) because half of their team was outside the booth with rate 89.
Venkatesh Iyer manages to counterattack and knock out Akash Deep with a score of six, but he becomes Ahmed’s second victim.
But the left-right combination of Jain and Shubham Sharma (44 not out) came up against Bengal with their unyielding partnership in 54 runs.
Jain took full advantage of the amnesty on the 37th to complete his fiftieth as their duo seemed comfortable.
But Akash caused the downfall after he was brought back to the attack after lunch.
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