Ranji Trophy 2019-20: Semi-finals – Day 1: Round Up
Anustup Majumdar was the star of the day as he scored an unbeaten century for Bengal.
Updated - Feb 29, 2020 6:33 pm
The semi-finals of the ongoing Ranji Trophy season got underway on Saturday. While Saurashtra faced Gujarat in Rajkot, the iconic Eden Gardens hosted Bengal vs Karnataka encounter. Expectedly, both the matches witnessed some brilliant action with no team having an outright upper hand on the other after the first day’s play.
In the first semi-final, Saurashtra got off to a decent start after losing the toss with their openers Harvik Desai and Kishan Parmar crossing the 30-run mark. But both of them failed to get going even Avi Barot too got out on 27 to leave the team in trouble at 102/3 in the second session. This is when Vishvaraja Jadeja and the veteran Sheldon Jackson joined hands to stitch a 60-run partnership.
But just when it seemed that Saurashtra will end the day on a high, Arzan Nagwaswalla struck to send back the former on 26, in what was another wasted start from the home team. However, Sheldon Jackson didn’t deter and kept on batting playing patiently scoring an unbeaten half-century.
Arpit Vasavada bagged a golden duck but Chirag Jani supported Jackson well as Saurashtra ended the day on 217/5 after 90 overs. While Jackson is unbeaten on 69 while Jani is playing on 16 as the team will look at the duo to take them past 300 runs in the first innings. Axar Patel (2 wickets) and Nagwaswalla (3 wickets) led the way for Gujarat as they shared five wickets to fall on the day. The visitors will be hoping to clean up the innings and then take a huge first-innings lead against Saurashtra.
Saurashtra – 217/5 after 90 overs (S Jackson 69*; A Nagwaswalla 3/40, A Patel 2/47)
Anustup Majumdar saves the day for Bengal
In the second semi-final, Bengal’s innings was in the doldrums after Karnataka won the toss and opted to bowl first. The trio of Prasidh Krishna, Abhimanyu Mithun and Ronit More blew away their top order as Bengal were reduced to 67/6. But then Anustup Majumdar stitched crucial and game-changing partnerships with the lower order.
Shahbaz Ahmed was the first to stand with him in the middle battling through the tough conditions. They added 72 runs for the seventh wicket stand after which Akash Deep hung around to add 103 runs more with Majumdar who played some gorgeous strokes on his way to a well-deserved hundred.
Unfortunately, Bengal lost a couple of wickets just before the new ball was due. But Majumdar stuck it out to add 17 more runs for the last wicket until stumps and remained unbeaten on 120. Ishan Porel is batting with him as Bengal ended the day on 275/9 in 82 overs and they will be hoping to cross the 300-run mark on the second morning before having a go at Karnataka batsmen.
Bengal – 275/9 after 82 overs (A Majumdar 120*, A Deep 44; A Mithun 3/65, R More 2/45)