Ranji Trophy: Patidar’s unbeaten fifty puts MP in driver’s seat after Bengal concede lead

Rajat Patidar hit an unbeaten half-century to put Madhya Pradesh in the driver’s seat against Bengal in their Ranji Trophy semifinal, here on Thursday.

Continuing his dream run, Patidar took the center stage in MP’s second essay with an elegant 63 not out after his side gained a vital 78-run first innings lead.

The Royal Challengers Bangalore batter, who scored one century and two half centuries in the recently-concluded IPL, found himself at home as he slammed 10 boundaries in his 109-ball unbeaten knock to push MP to 163 for two at stumps on day three.

In their quest for first appearance in Ranji final since 1998-99, MP now have an overall lead of 231 runs with skipper Aditya Shrivastava lending Patidar fine support at the other end with a resolute 34 not out from 90 balls.

Coming onto bat after Shubham Sharma (22) retired hurt after being hit on his arm by an Akash Deep delivery just before tea, the MP skipper didn’t look fluent but he hung in there, giving perfect company to Patidar in their unbroken 73-run association.

Patidar, on the other hand, mixed caution with aggression as Bengal bowlers struggled to get breakthroughs and MP slowly tilted the momentum in their favour in the final session of the day.
There was hardly any pressure from the Bengal bowlers on a spread-out field as the duo cleverly collected ones and twos to take pressure off them.

Earlier, resuming the day on 197 for five, veteran Manoj Tiwary (102), who was overnight 84, completed his 29th first class hundred, his second in a row.

He was well-supported by Bengal and RCB all-rounder Shahbaz Ahmed (116), who notched up his maiden first-class hundred after resuming at overnight personal score of 72.

The duo formed the backbone, in an otherwise, sloppy batting display by Bengal as eight of their batters failed to get double digits scores.

Skipper Abhimanyu Easwaran (22) was the only other batter to register double digit runs as Bengal were bundled out for 273 in 89.2 overs in reply to MP’s 341.

In reply, MP had a jittery start in their second innings as Mukesh Kumar trapped Yash Dubey lbw with an angled length ball which was sliding down but umpire Vineet Kulkarni thought otherwise, giving the pacer his 100th first-class victim.

Sharma had a lucky escape as he got a reprieve at nine after wicketkeeper Abishek Porel spilled a sitter.

Bengal soon grabbed a second wicket when Porel stumped first-innings centurion Himanshu Mantri (21).
But thereafter, it was Patidar show as he took on the Bengal bowlers with his fluent drives and flicks, adding 40 runs for the third wicket before Sharma retired hurt.

Mumbai in complete command, take first-innings lead against UP

Mumbai produced an incisive bowling display to bundle out Uttar Pradesh for a paltry 180 and take the crucial first-innings lead on the third day of their Ranji Trophy semifinal, here on Thursday.

Resuming at the overnight score of 25 for two, UP batters could add just 155 runs as Tushar Deshpande (3/34), off-spinner Tanush Kotian (3/35) and Mohit Avasthi (3/39) shared nine wickets between them for Mumbai. Dhawal Kulkarni (1/25) also chipped in with a scalp. Skipper Prithvi Shaw made 64 off 71 balls with the help of 12 boundaries as Mumbai finished the day at 133 for one in their second innings, taking an overall lead of 346 runs.

Mumbai had posted 393 in their first essay, courtesy hundreds by Yashasvi Jaiswal and Hardik Tamore.
UP lost wickets regularly after resumption with the 41-time Ranji Trophy champions dominating from the start.

The first UP batter to be dismissed on the day was skipper Karan Sharma (27), who became Avasthi’s first victim.

Opener Madhav Kaushik (38) and Rinku Singh (16) tried to rally the innings, but managed to forge only a 32-run stand for the fifth wicket before the former was dismissed by Kotian.

After that, the UP batters made a beeline to the pavilion. Rinku, Dhruv Jorel (2) and Saurabh Kumar (0) fell in quick succession. Kotian trapped Rinku in front of the wickets, while Awasthi accounted for the two other dismissals.

Coming onto bat at no. 8, Shivam Mavi (48) showed some late resistance, but it was too little and too late.

Mavi hit four boundaries and two sixes in his blazing 55-ball knock.

Deshpande then swung into action and ripped apart the tail.

But the day belonged to Kotian, who broke Mavi’s resistance as UP conceded a massive 213-run first innings lead.

There was more agony in store for UP as Shaw (64) and Yashasvi Jaiswal (35 not out) made an aggressive start by adding 66 runs for the opening wicket in Mumbai’s second innings. While Shaw played in his usual aggressive style, Jaiswal played the second fiddle.

After Shaw’s dismissal, Jaiswal and Armaan Jaffer (32 not out) continued to torment the UP bowlers as the Amol Mazumdar-coached side seemed to have put one foot in the final.

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UP used as many as six bowlers in Mumbai’s second essay but all were taken to task.

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