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December 21, 2008
Bengal 337 (Chakrabarty 82, Ganguly 69, Sarkar 60, Saha 54, Bandekar 6-76) and 193 for 5 (Tiwary 80, Chakrabarty 49) drew with Goa 230 (Ninan 88*, Bose 6-62, Sarkar 3-20) trail by 171 runs
Sourav Ganguly did not bat during his final day of first-class cricket, but got the perfect farewell gift as Bengal gained promotion to the Super League. Goa's Ryan Ninan tried to stave off defeat, but he was left stranded on a career-best 88 as Sourav Sarkar took the final three wickets to dismiss them for 230, thus giving Bengal the crucial first-innings lead.
Bengal, leading by 107, lost a wicket early in their second innings,. Two strikes in successive overs from Harshad Gadekar reduced them to 54 for 3, but Manoj Tiwary and Dibyendu Chakrabarty steadied the innings with a brisk 110-run stand. Bengal played out 46 overs to reach 193 for 5 as the match finished in a draw. The spotlight, though, was on Ganguly. "I don't miss playing cricket anymore," he told PTI. "Every cricketer has to retire one day and I don't have any sad feelings about the decision [to retire].
"I am happy that Bengal have qualified for the Elite division [Super League]. Bengal faced problems for some time due to shifting of allegiance to ICL by some players. But youngsters have filled in the void now and they will do good work in future."
Himachal Pradesh 579 (Sharma 161, Thakkar 111, Mannu 93, Indulkar 80) beat Madhya Pradesh 228 (Jalaj Saxena 107, Thakur 4-40, Malik 4-73) and 176 (Kanitkar 66, Mohinder Sharma 5-45, Sarandeep Singh 4-52) by an innings and 175 runs
Offspinner Sarandeep Singh took his 300th first-class wicket as Himachal Pradesh crushed Madhya Pradesh by an innings and 175 runs in Nagpur. Himachal Pradesh's mammoth first-innings lead had effectively guaranteed them promotion to the top division, and Sarandeep, along with Mohinder Sharma, bowled them to an emphatic win.
Resuming on 576 for 8, Himachal Pradesh could only add three more to their total. Mohinder prised out three quick wickets to leave Madhya Pradesh at 47 for 4, but captain Hrishikesh Kanitkar resisted, making 66. However his team failed to build big partnerships and salvage a draw. Kanitkar, trapped lbw to Sarandeep, was the seventh man out with the score on 131. An unbeaten 27 from Sunil Dholpure, the second-best score in the innings, pushed the total to 176. Sarandeep took 4 for 52, while Mohinder's 5 for 45 was his maiden first-class five-wicket haul, coming in his fourth game.
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