Tiwary guides Bengal home in tense finish
It was a tense finish at the Maharaja Bir Bikram College Stadium, where Manoj Tiwary helped Bengal scrape through by two wickets against Delhi to book their place in the semi-finals. Delhi nearly turned the tables after claiming two late wickets and when it came down to the last over, four were needed. Tiwary then sealed the win by sweeping a full toss by Dharshan Kanjania for four.
The match was reduced to 47 overs a side and Delhi, after being put in to bat, were off to a brisk start by their openers. However, after losing both Aakash Chopra and Manan Sharma in quick succession, they couldn't push on and were also hampered by the early dismissal of the in-form Virat Kohli for 7. The Bengal spinners, Ritam Kundu and Iresh Saxena, took two wickets each and strangled the scoring. A ninth-wicket stand of 50 between Puneet Bisht and Pradeep Sangwan pushed the score past 200.
Tiwary walked out in the seventh over and piloted the chase but his partners often made starts and failed to convert them. The spinners Chetanya Nanda and Yogesh Nagar operated on a tight line in the middle overs and the pressure increased on Bengal, as did the asking rate. Bengal nearly threw it all away when they lost two wickets for one run in two overs towards the end but Tiwary held fort at the other end and saw his team through.
Bengal will now meet Baroda in the semi-final on Friday.
In the other quarter-final at the Polytechnic Institute Ground, Tamil Nadu strolled to a 56-run win over Mumbai. Tamil Nadu, after being asked to bat first, responded with 252, thanks to S Anirudha's half-century and R Ashwin's 46. Anirudha got the team off to a good start, S Vidyut and Arun Karthik made 30s in the middle order before the captain Ashwin propped up the innings with an aggressive 46 off 37 balls. Iqbal Abdulla, the left-arm spinner, took 3 for 43. Mumbai were well-placed at 85 for 1 in the 14th over but lost the plot when three wickets fell for two runs. R Suthesh, the left-arm seamer, started the collapse by taking two of those wickets. Mumbai struggled to get the partnerships going and eventually folded for 196. Vidyut had a good outing with the ball, taking 3 for 32.
Tamil Nadu will now meet Uttar Pradesh in the semi-final, also on Friday.