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Wisden Cricinfo staff
February 6, 2004
Bengal 239 for 8 (Das 67) beat Delhi 225 (Gambhir 64, Paul 3-25) by 14 runs
Bengal kicked off their campaign with a 14-run win over Delhi in the first match of the knockout stage of the Ranji Trophy one-day tournament at Eden Gardens in Kolkata. The tournament involves the five teams that won the one-day tournament in their respective zones. Chasing 240, Gautam Gambhir got Delhi off to a steady start with his steady 64. Even after he fell (145 for 4) Delhi were well placed with Ajay Jadeja (49) controlling proceedings. When 57 were required off 50, Jadeja fell and the lower order wilted under the pressure. Shib Paul, the Bengal medium pacer, conceded only 25 in his 9 overs and snapped up two important wickets in the final stages. He had earlier dismissed Aakash Chopra for only 4. Bengal reached 239 largely due to Arindam Das (67), the opener, who anchored the innings with his 100-ball knock. There were valuable contributions from Deep Dasgupta (39 off 48) and Laxmi Ratan Shukla (41 off 51), which propped up the total. It was a fighting score, and Delhi's lower order collapse made it a matchwinning one.
Mumbai 237 for 5 (Indulkar 77*, Shetty 53) beat Rajasthan 236 (Khoda 82, Yagnik 50) by 14 runs
Vinit Indulkar (77 not out) and Nishit Shetty (53) cracked crucial half-centuries that helped Mumbai overcome Rajasthan in their opening game of the tournament at the Jadavpur University Campus in Kolkata. Chasing 237, Mumbai suffered an early hiccup when Vinayak Mane was caught at the wicket of S Mathur. Robin Morris and Vinod Kambli, who scored 32 each, added 56 for the second wicket and shared 10 fours between them. Though both fell in quick succession, Indulkar and Shetty ensured against further alarms and their 107-run association put Mumbai in command. Shetty was out after his 81-ball innings, but Indulkar stayed till the end and took them home with two overs to spare. Earlier in the day, Rajasthan frittered away a great start provided by DH Yagnik and Gagan Khoda, the captain. Yagnik creamed nine fours in his breezy 50 off 56 balls and along with Khoda (82), provided an ideal launching pad for a late-over surge. Nilesh Kulkarni (3 for 34), the left-arm spinner, and Sairaj Bahutule (3 for 48), the legspinner, struck vital blows in the middle overs. Munaf Patel ensured against any tail-end resistance and finished with 3 for 42.
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