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RESULT
1st semi final, Alur, June 14 - 18, 2022, Ranji Trophy
341 & 281
(T:350) 273 & 175

M. Pradesh won by 174 runs

Player Of The Match
165 & 21
himanshu-mantri
  Timeline
Showing newest first
  • Mumbai in final

  • Two domestic greats in a frame

  • Kartikeya puts MP in first final since 1998-99

  • Five wickets for Kartikeya

  • Day 5, lunch

  • Bengal show signs of nerves

  • "He's still scared, bro"

  • Easwaran marches on

  • Blow for Bengal

  • Match to resume soon

  • At Just Cricket: First session washed out

  • Post-game analysis of Day 4

  • Day 5: Hello & Welcome

  • Bengal need 254 runs, MP six wickets

  • Tiwary gets a reprieve

  • Mumbai pile on the runs

  • Unlucky no more, Kartikeya gives MP control

  • Bowled but bails don't dislodge

  • Gharami out to a howler

  • A wicket for UP, finally

  • Abhimanyu Easwaran starts well

  • Abhishek Raman bags a pair

  • Quiz Question

  • Shahbaz takes five as Bengal set 350

  • Armaan ton

  • Century and a five-for for Shahbaz!

  • Bengal strike back

  • The Jaiswal juggernaut

  • Lunch time update

  • Third wicket for Bengal this morning

  • Meanwhile at Mumbai-UP

  • One brings two for Bengal

  • Shahbaz breaks century stand

  • Run-hungry Jaiswal continues the good habit

  • MP unscathed in first 45 minutes

  • The Yash Dayal interview

  • Day 4: Hello & Welcome

  • Mumbai have one foot in the door

  • Madhya Pradesh dominate Bengal

  • Patidar joins in the fun for MP

  • Shaw falls after entertaining knock

  • MP solid as Patidar, Shrivastava build

  • Shaw blazes away

  • Shaw gets a life; Mumbai march along

  • Bengal strike to remove first-innings centurion

  • UP out for 180

  • Nasty hit for Rajpoot

  • Umpires in focus

  • 100 first-class wickets for Mukesh!

  • Uttar Pradesh's procession continues

  • Bengal all out 273

  • Shahbaz classic ends

  • Bengal lose their eighth

  • Mumbai strike early on day three

  • Maiden first-class century for Shahbaz

  • Patidar reprieves Pramanik

  • Tiwary falls after stunning rearguard

  • Day 3: Hello & welcome

  • Mumbai dominate

  • Tiwary, Shahbaz lead Bengal fightback

  • Double blow for UP

  • Mumbai bowled out for 393

  • Fifties for Tiwary and Shahbaz

  • This Hardik can bat too

  • Tamore-Mulani in century stand for Mumbai

  • Tiwary, Shahbaz fight for Bengal

  • Mumbai steady after delayed start

  • Datey removes Easwaran as Bengal slide

  • Tiwary on the attack

  • Bengal unravelling quickly

  • MP finish with 341

  • The Saurabh Kumar journey

  • Mantri's long vigil ends

  • Mantri drives MP with 150

  • Delayed start at Just Cricket

  • Day 2: Hello & Welcome

  • Mantri, Raghuwanshi power MP

  • Mumbai go past 250

  • Jaiswal falls after ton

  • Century No. 1 for Himanshu Mantri

  • Mumbai up the ante

  • Jaiswal fifty leads Mumbai recovery

  • Akshat 'no fear' Raghuwanshi on the charge for MP

  • Jaiswal v Rajpoot

  • Bengal keep thinga tight after lunch

  • Jaiswal, Parkar rebuild for Mumbai

  • Bengal on top as Patidar falls

  • Pramanik strikes immediately for Bengal

  • Bengal's selection call

  • Mantri, Shubham solid for MP

  • One down for MP!

  • Toss details

  • Hello & welcome

Updated 18-Jun-2022 • Published 14-Jun-2022

Live Blog: Ranji Trophy 2021-22 semi-finals

By Shashank Kishore

Mumbai in final

Mumbai produced an allround performance to storm into the Ranji Trophy final, after eking out a draw against Uttar Pradesh, at Just Cricket Academy. Mumbai won on the basis of the first-innings lead of 213. Their overall lead stood at 746 runs at stumps on day 5. They will now take on Madhya Pradesh, who beat Bengal by 174 runs in the other semi-final, at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium on June 22.
The young Yashasvi Jaiswal continued his fine form to score back-to-back hundreds in the semi-final after notching up a ton in the quarter-final against Uttarakhand. He also recorded his career-best first-class score of 181 in the third innings. Mumbai also had other contributors with the bat, with the keeper Hardik Tamore, coming in place of injured Aditya Tare, utilising the opportunity and scoring 115 on his first match of the season. In the third innings, captain Prithvi Shaw hit an entertaining 64 while Armaan Jaffer cracked 127, his second hundred in three matches this season. Shams Mulani also hit back-to-back fifties while Sarfaraz Khan also contributed with the bat.
On a flat day 3 pitch, Mumbai bowled UP for 181, thanks to Tushar Deshpande, Mohit Avasthi and Tanush Kotian. UP couldn't recover from the blow and were at the receiving end since then.
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Two domestic greats in a frame

The only bit of noteworthy action from Mumbai-UP

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Kartikeya puts MP in first final since 1998-99

Twenty-three years after their Ranji Trophy dream went up in smoke, Madhya Pradesh will fight for the title at the same venue of their heartbreak - the M Chinnaswamy Stadium. Standing in their way will be Mumbai, the 41-time champions, who will be in their first final since 2016-17.
Incidentally Pandit, who was Mumbai coach then when they lost to Gujarat, is now with MP. Having masterminded titles with Mumbai and more-recently with Vidarbha for two seasons back to back, he’ll have a chance to do with MP as coach what he couldn’t as a captain all those years ago, when Karnataka beat them to lift the trophy.
Pandit and Mumbai’s current coach Amol Muzumdar, both students of legendary coach late Ramakant Achrekar, will shepherd their teams in what promises to be a riveting battle of the khadoos come June 22.
That MP find themselves in the final is thanks in no small part to left-arm spinner Kumar Kartikeya. After picking six second-innings wickets against Punjab to bowl MP into the semi-finals last week, he picked up five second-innings wickets against Bengal to bowl MP into the final. The victory margin of 174 runs a reflection of MP’s superior batting, that made the difference in the semi-final.
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Five wickets for Kartikeya

Bengal right on the edge.
Abhimanyu Easwaran was the first to fall after lunch when he got a grubber that scooted through to beat the underedge and hit the stumps.
The fifth was off a leading edge that lobbed straight to cover to remove Pradipta Pramanik.
In between the two wickets, Sayan Mandal fell to a Saransh Jain offspinner. He played for turn when there was none as the ball would've crashed into the stumps.
Shahbaz's approach at the other end has been strange. There has hardly been an effort to pick runs and look to score. Bengal have only one way through which they can progress, and that is by going after this target.
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Day 5, lunch

Bengal have steadied their innings courtesy Easwaran and Shahbaz. Their partnership is worth 31. More than the runs, they've looked at ease against the bowling. That said, the target is a big one and as they keep chiselling the runs off, the pressure is only bound to increase. Can they get Bengal to within 150 of the target? Currently they're 128 for 5, needing 222 more.
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Bengal show signs of nerves

Twice in two overs now, Shahbaz and Easwaran have been involved in a mix-up.
First, Easwaran tapped the ball to short third and took off for a run, only to be sent back after he has halfway down the pitch.
Next, Shahbaz works it to short fine and takes off for a run, only for his partner to turn his back on him. MP can sense a bit of hesitancy. Bengal can ill-afford a wicket, more to to a run out. This is the last recognised pair, and they need to bat well into the final session if Bengal are to try and chase this down.
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"He's still scared, bro"

It's hilarious to hear the kind of sledges from Himanshu Mantri behind the stumps. "He's still scared, bro", he yelps to Kumar Kartikeya. But the field to the "scared" batter is so spread out that Easwaran can easily tap the ball and milk a single, like he does. Nothing "scary" about the field, I can say with 100% conviction.
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Easwaran marches on

5000 first-class runs for Abhimanyu Easwaran in his 72nd first-class game. Bengal will be hoping he gets to 5100 and beyond today. That would've meant an epic that takes them closer. Make no mistake, we've lost an hour and a bit, but there's plenty of time left to force a result. It's improbable but not impossible. Bengal 106 for 5, need 244 more.
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Blow for Bengal

MP have struck off the second ball of the morning, Gourav Yadav bowls a lovely away-swinger that Anustup Majumdar tries to drive on the up, but can only nick it to the wicketkeeper. That is a massive dagger through the Bengal hearts. They're 97 for 5, the target is still 253 away. First-innings hero Shahbaz Ahmed walks out to join the skipper Abhimanyu Easwaran.
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Match to resume soon

Over in Alur, we'll have play starting at 10.45am. The frustrating wait is more from a Bengal point of view, because they have to do all the running. That said, MP are in a great position to win outright and enter the final.
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At Just Cricket: First session washed out

Umpires still feel the outfield is unfit to play. The next inspection is at 11.30am which means the first session is washed out. We can expect some play with sun coming out now. Remember, the match can be called off at tea as Mumbai's first-innings lead of 213 is enough to carry them to the final.
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Day 5: Hello & Welcome

Morning from rainy Bengaluru.
We've had some early morning showers that has delayed play in Just Cricket by a bit. But the result of Mumbai v UP is a foregone conclusion. How long will Mumbai continue to bat? Will they declare and push for an outright win? We'll soon find out.
We do know, however, that UP are going home.
Over in Alur, Bengal are hoping for a miracle against all odds. MP have the aces and are favourites to meet Mumbai in the grand finale. There will be an inspection at 9.30am.
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Bengal need 254 runs, MP six wickets

Day 4, stumps:
Abhimanyu Easwaran stands between Madhya Pradesh and a place in the Ranji final, their first since 1998-99. Easwaran has battled hard, but the same can't be said of the rest of the top order that has caved in against some accurate left-arm spin from Kumar Kartikeya. Bengal had a massive slice of misfortune when they lost Sudip Gharami to a lbw howler, with replays confirming the ball had struck the glove firmly. But they'll need to move on from the umpiring calls quickly and find a way to try and plan out the remainder of their 254 runs with six wickets in hand. It should be an absorbing final day. Hoping the rain stays away.
Mumbai piled on the runs and misery on Uttar Pradesh as they have all but cemented a place in the final. Resuming on 131/1, Yashasvi Jaiswal and Armaan Jaffer converted their starts to score 181 and 125 respectively, to lift Mumbai to 449/4 with a massive lead of 662 runs.
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Tiwary gets a reprieve

Tiwary's inside edge lobs to short leg but can't hold on. Saransh Jain kicks the turf in disappointment. Bengal 73-3, need 277 more.
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Mumbai pile on the runs

Jaiswal ended his innings with his career-best first-class score of 181, batting for 541 minutes and scoring a total of 23 fours and a six in the second innings. Mumbai 420 for 4 , with a massive lead of 633. Mumbai have all but cemented their place in the final.
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Unlucky no more, Kartikeya gives MP control

He was denied a wicket two overs earlier, but strikes almost immediately.
Abhishek Porel misjudges the line as he goes back to whip this shortish delivery and sees the ball wickedly spin back in to sneak through the gap ands crash into the stumps.
Bengal 60 for 3. Manoj Tiwary joins Easwaran in the middlwe with the Ranji Trophy on the line.
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Bowled but bails don't dislodge

How lucky is Abhimanyu Easwaran? How unlucky is Kumar Kartikeya?
He's squared up by sharp turn. The ball beats the outside edge and kisses the off-stump as it passes. The bails don't dislodge.
He's on 31, Bengal need him to bat long and bat big if they are to scale this 350-run target.
Bengal 56/2 currently, need 294 more.

Gharami out to a howler

Breakthrough for Madhya Pradesh as Saransh Jain strikes.
Gharami was trying to reverse sweep but was struck flush on the glove as he got low to play the stroke. He was also struck outside the line of the stumps.
Umpire Ravikant Reddy had no doubts whatsoever. What's worse? Bengal can't DRS that because there is no DRS. Bengal 50-2
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Agree?

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A wicket for UP, finally

UP finally have their first wicket of the day - not that it is going to put them back into the game. Armaan tried to flick a ball, that was pitched on the leg side, and the substitute keeper Juyal completed a single catch off Shivam Mavi. Armaan walks off after a well-made 127. His 259-ball knock included 15 fours and two sixes and he also shared a 286-run stand with Jaiswal, which flattened UP. Mumbai lead by 565 runs

Abhimanyu Easwaran starts well

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After a loud shout for lbw was turned down, presumably because of the 3-metre rule - Abhimanyu Easwaran responds by picking Anubhav Agarwal for three fours. A pristine off-drive, a flick to a length ball on off through midwicket and a nearly tucked leg glance. Here's Easwaran's opportunity. Can he be that fourth-innings saviour for Bengal? There can be no better way to remind the selectors of his abilities.
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Abhishek Raman bags a pair

Third ball in the first innings.
First ball in the second innings.
This has been a forgettable outing for Bengal's Abhishek Raman.
He went back to cut a full delivery, only to chop on, two days ago.
Here, he nicks to first slip. Plays forward to a delivery that doesn't spin.
Dream start for Kumar Kartikeya and MP. Bengal 0-1, Target 350.
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Quiz Question

In the last 35 years, Shahbaz Ahmed is only the 2nd player to score a 100 and take a 5-fer in Ranji Trophy for Bengal.
Who is the first?
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Shahbaz takes five as Bengal set 350

5/34 How Madhya Pradesh collapsed in the second innings from a comfortable 247 for 5. They've been bowled out for 281, which means Bengal will need 350 for a place in their second straight final. Shahbaz ends with a five-for, Pramanik with four. The odd ball is keeping low, some deliveries are jumping, and it's going to be a tough chase for Bengal. They have to go for it having conceded the lead. The only way out is to try and scale down the target. This game's going to produce a definite winner. MP with the advantage but don't count Bengal out
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Armaan ton

Armaan Jaffer completes his century at Just Cricket, his second first-class hundred in eight matches. Six of his 14 fours have come in the cover and extra cover region so far. With Jaiswal, the right-hander has added in excess of 200 runs for the second wicket. Mumbai extend their lead to 500 .
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Century and a five-for for Shahbaz!

A complete all-round performance from Shahbaz. After a fighting century with the bat, he has picked up five wickets, with the dismissal of Kumar Kartikeya. Here is the story of how he adapted to the red-ball cricket .
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Bengal strike back

Bengal are fighting hard. They've picked up five wickets in all today, MP’s lead 319. Aditya Shrivastava, the captain, the latest to all. Each of the five wickets to the spinners. Shahbaz and Pramanik have wheeled away all morning. Is there another twist?
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The Jaiswal juggernaut

3 Hundreds by Yashasvi Jaiswal in three of his most recent first-class outings. Two of those have come in the semi-final here against UP. Remember, this is only his third first-class game for the team.
Jaiswal has displayed his big-match temperament to notch up his third consecutive hundred, one in the quarter-final and second in the semi-final. He took his time to get off the mark, 54 balls to be exact, in the second innings but has looked in fine touch since then. He was again handed a life in the second innings and as was the case in the first innings, he has utilised the opportunity to make it a big score. Armaan Jaffer, at the other end, is also not far from reaching a three-figure mark.
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Lunch time update

MP very much in control, but Bengal are fighting hard, having picked up three wickets. MP effectively 303 for 5.
Mumbai have batted UP out of the game, almost. They lead by 448 with nine second-innings wickets remaining. Yashasvi Jaiswal is closing in on a century in each innings.
Meanwhile
At Just Cricket : Mumbai go to lunch at 235/1 , comfortably leading by 448 runs. Jaiswal continued his form to remain unbeaten on 77 and Armaan Jaffer batting on 80. Their second-wicket partnership stands at 169 at the moment. Despite the overnight rain, the match started on time under clear skies. But there is hardly anything on the flat pitch for bowlers, with runs flowing easily for Mumbai.
Adding to UP's woes, they lost three catches on day 4, with a total of eight catches being dropped over two innings so far. Dhruv Jurel, their wicketkeeper, also had to walk off the field after injuring his left palm while diving to his right in the 65th over. Aryan Juyal has taken the gloves.

Third wicket for Bengal this morning

Pradipta Pramanik has been rewarded for his persistence. He has looked mighty dangerous with the second new ball, and batters have kept playing and missing. They've played for the ones that don't turn, only to see the ball spin past the edge. This certainly played a part in Shubham Sharma's dismissal too. He was tentative in pushing forward, got an inside edge onto the pad and lapped up by silly point. MP 220-5, lead by 288.

Meanwhile at Mumbai-UP

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One brings two for Bengal

Rajat Patidar and Akshat Raghuwanshi have been dismissed within four overs of each other. Raghuwanshi's was an important atrike. The 18-year Changed the tempo of the first innnings with a sprightly half-century. His game borders around the aggressive and could've so easily swelled the lead further. Shahbaz Ahmed has picked up both wickets to fall this morning. MP 205 for 4, lead by 273. Shubham Sharma, who retired hurt last aftenoon, is back to bat again.
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Shahbaz breaks century stand

Rajat Patidar won't get to his second hundred of the season. He's trapped lbw by Shahbaz, who gets the ball to straighten from around the stumps. Patidar played down the wrong line and it looked pretty plumb until you looked at a second replay that appeared to suggest an inside edge. The keeper anyway pouched the catch, but for official purposes, he was given out lbw. MP 201/3, lead by 269. Bengal will need a few more wickets.
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Run-hungry Jaiswal continues the good habit

Century in the second innings of the quarterfinal.
Century in the first innings of the semi-final to set up the game.
Now a half-century in the second innings, and still going strong.
Uttar Pradesh have been run ragged. They're all but knocked out. Remember, they need to force the issue. Mumbai will be happy to bat, bat and bat. What they're known to do.
Here's Yashasvi Jaiswal talking about the recent surge in his career, what it means playing for Mumbai, the Royals stint and more.
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MP unscathed in first 45 minutes

Aditya Shrivastava, the captain, has been the more dominant between him and Rajat Patidar this morning. He has put away the half-volleys, flicked with disdain and shown complete control over spin, especially off Shahbaz. He's approaching his first half-century of the season. What a time to get it.
Patidar has been solid and has been intent on crease occupation. He is looking to get to his second hundred of the season. Remember, he has six fifty-plus scores this season. MP 190-2, lead by 258. The partnership beteween these two worth 100.

The Yash Dayal interview

Uttar Pradesh are down and out of this game. A place in the final for the first time since 2007-08, where they lost to Delhi, has slipped away. Barring a miracle, it's very unlikely they're going to be able to force a victory here against Mumbai. But there have been a few silver linings.
Among them is left-arm fast bowler Yash Dayal, who has had a meteoric rise through the ranks over the last few months. In February, he was part of the Indian team as a net bowler. The same month, Gujarat Titans picked him at the auction for INR 3.8 crore. In May, he was an IPL winner with them, having featured in a majority of their matches.
Here's Yash Dayal in conversation with Vishal Dikshit and Nikhil Sharma on his early years in UP, the challenges, the IPL stint, working with Ashish Nehra and a lot more.
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Day 4: Hello & Welcome

We've had a lot of overnight rain in Bengaluru, so the start of the fourth day across Alur & Just Cricket will be delayed by a bit.
In Alur, the outfield is in slightly better shape but that can't prevent a delayed start. Ground staff hard at work. One thing about Bengaluru is it doesn't rain mostly during the day, so we should be in for play post lunch very soon. It's bright and sunny at the moment. All the covers have been removed.
Madhya Pradesh won't mind the delay though. They're in pole position, having build on their first-innings lead that now stands at 231 with eight wickets in hand. Bengal will be itching to go out there, get the remaining eight wickets and then try and scale down the target. There's no other way they can qualify. Only an outright win from here on will do, and they need as much play as possible to make that happen.
We should be good to start at 945.
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Mumbai have one foot in the door

Day 3, stumps (Just Cricket): Mumbai outplayed Uttar Pradesh in batting, bowling and fielding departments to take stumps at 131/1 on day 3 of the Ranji Trophy semi-final at Just Cricket Academy. After bowling Uttar Pradesh out for 180 inside 55 overs, Prithvi Shaw's entertaining fifty ensured Mumbai's lead swelled to 346 runs. Jaiswal and Armaan Jaffer remain unbeaten on 35 and 32, respectively, at the end of day's play.
Uttar Pradesh started the day with a 60-run partnership between Madhav Kaushik and Karan Sharma and did not lose a wicket in the first hour. But that was also the only period when they were in the match. From 64 for 2, they lost five wickets for 43 runs and eventually were bowled out inside 200. Shivam Mavi top-scored with a 55-ball 48 while for Mumbai, Tushar Deshpande, Mohit Avasthi and Tanish Kotian picked up three wickets each.
Mumbai would be looking to accumulate more runs on day 4 and aim to bowl them out with a huge target. Uttar Pradesh will have a lot of work to do if they are to win the game from this situation.
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Madhya Pradesh dominate Bengal

Day 3, stumps (Alur):
The day dawned with plenty of hope and excitement in the Bengal camp. Manoj Tiwary and Shahbaz Ahmed were approaching centuries. The deficit had been whittled down to just over a 100, and they genuinely believed they could run Madhya Pradesh ragged.
But 45 minutes into the day's play, soon after Tiwary got to his 29th first-class century, they were given a reality check. The lower order fell apart without much fight to give MP a handy 68-run lead.
There was a lesson to be learnt there for MP. Last week, Karnataka pocketed a 98-run lead but collapsed in a heap against UP, so a win was far from guaranteed at the time. They slowly built their second innings brick by brick, and are now in a position from where they can dictate terms.
Rajat Patidar, who missed out in the first innings, has stood tall to make an unbeaten on 63. This is his sixth fifty-plus score this season, including a century. Aditya Shrivaatava, the captain, is unbeaten on 34. MP lead by 231 with eight wickets in hand.
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Patidar joins in the fun for MP

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Shaw falls after entertaining knock

Srinidhi from Just Cricket: Shaw departed after an entertaining 64 off 71 balls where he scored 12 boundaries - all well-timed ones - and looked at ease, after facing just three deliveries in the first innings. The Mumbai captain tried to go for a sweep off left-arm spinner Saurabh Kumar and found the top-edge as Mavi completed the catch at a few yards from the deep square leg boundary. The first-wicket partnership stood at 66 with Jaiswal scoring zero runs and was just content to hang on. Armaan Jaffer walks in at one-drop.
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MP solid as Patidar, Shrivastava build

Madhya Pradesh's lead approaching 200 now.
Akash Deep has kept bounding in from one end, trying to reverse the ball. Occasionally, he has beat the bat and hit the pad. He's had two loud shouts for lbw turned down - both fairly close.
Shahbaz Ahmed has been a tad short, and Patidar has helped himself to some runs as he approaches a half-century.
Ominous signs for Bengal. They need a clutch of wickets right about now.
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Shaw blazes away

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Shaw gets a life; Mumbai march along

Openers Prithvi Shaw and Yashasvi Jaiswal played contrasting knocks in the second innings after Mumbai bowled UP out on day 3. The left-handed Jaiswal, who hit a century in the first innings, is yet to get off the mark after facing 38 deliveries. He was happy to leave the balls that were pitched on the fourth and fifth stumps by the likes of Mavi and Dayal. Shaw, who was out for a duck in the third ball of the first innings, was in his elements, playing classy drives and flicks. He remained unbeaten on 42 off 52 deliveries with eight boundaries.
While Rajpoot tried to exert pressure on the batters with his variations, Mavi was mostly predictable with most of his balls pitched wide of offstump.
That Rinku Singh dropped Shaw, when he was batting on 13, at gully, also hurt the team. Overall, UP have dropped four catches so far in the match.
Mumbai 43 for no loss at tea , leading by 256 runs.

Bengal strike to remove first-innings centurion

Pradipta Pramanik struck with his first ball in the first innings.
He has now struck with his third over in the second, and it's that of MP's first innings centurion Himanshu Mantri.
Does him in flight as Mantri is deceived right royally, Abhishek Porel with a good stumping to give Bengal a reprieve.
Since then, Rajat Patidar has walked in and played a couple of fluent strokes. MP 66-2, lead by 134
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UP out for 180

There was some late resistance from Shivam Mavi, who fell two runs short of a half-century, but Mumbai completed the formalities by bowling UP out for 180. Offspinner Kotian picked up the final wicket when Mavi, who made a quickfire 48 with four fours and two sixes, tried to go big but was caught at long on by Dhawal Kulkarni. Deshpande, Kotian and Avasthi accounted for three wickets each. Mumbai are 213 runs ahead .
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Nasty hit for Rajpoot

An hour after lunch, UP pacer Ankit Rajpoot was hit on the helmet grille by a short delivery from Tushar Deshpande. He took his eyes off the ball and didn't duck or move away. UP physio came onto the field and checked on him. Rajpoot looked fine and resumed the batting. Two overs later, Rajpoot was seen putting on an elbow guard for extra protection.
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Umpires in focus

In what is a sign of things beginning to happen, the umpires are suddenly in sharp focus post lunch here in Alur. Shahbaz beat Shubham Sharma in the air and off the pitch with a sharp turner. Everyone, literally everyone around the bat went up in an appeal. Shahbaz joined in. Fair bit of dissent shown too, but a top, top call from umpire Reddy. He was firm, totally in control when he said 'not out' and replays confirm there was a daylight between bat and ball as it spun past.
Shahbaz is in the middle of an excellent spell. MP 38/1, lead by 106.
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100 first-class wickets for Mukesh!

First, they were denied a wicket when Yash Dubey shouldered arms to a Shahbaz arm-ball. Umpire Ravikant Reddy reckoned it would've missed off when it may have gone on to hit - Dubey didn't offer a shot so the point of impact wouldn't have mattered anyway. Off the next over, Bengal get Dubey lbw with one that was definitely sliding down leg. Umpire Vineet Kulkarni thought that was adjacent, but replays confirm the ball was hitting the outside of leg at the point of impact, and still had a fair bit to travel. MP 25/1, lead by 93.
It's also the 100th first-class wicket for Mukesh Kumar.
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Uttar Pradesh's procession continues

Pacer Avasthi and offspinner Tanush Kotian have picked two quick wickets each to put Mumbai on top. Opener Kaushik, who made a 91-ball 38, was first caught at a bat-pad chance by Suved Parkar in his second attempt at forward short leg off. There was turn on the pitch for him when Kotain had come to bowl in the 18th over of the day. Wild celebration from the Mumbai players.
In his next over, he picked up the big wicket of Rinku Singh by trapping him lbw.
Rinku tried to play a backfoot punch, missed the ball that was pitched on the middle stump and kept low.
Avasthi then removed wicketkeeper Dhruv Jurel with a short delivery, again poking the batter to play it forward and was again caught at the second slip by Sarfaraz. A ball later, he trapped Saurabh Kumar lbw with a delivery that came in after pitching outside the offstump. A plumb.
UP in real trouble, 107/7
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Bengal all out 273

Madhya Pradesh take the first innings honours, a lead of 68.
Akash Deep looks to hoick fast bowler Gourav Yadav and givres him his first wicket. The hoick flew off the edge with Patidar taking an excellent catch at slip.
The first inninga has been decided, alright, but this is definitely a lot closer than you'd think. It's game on. Bengal not out of it by any means.
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Shahbaz classic ends

Batting with Nos 10 & 11 can be a double-edged sword for a set batter.
It seemed that way for Shahbaz too. He kept picking the runs available on offer for as long as he could, and then saw one thrown up full and wide. In trying to give it a proper whack, he nicked one to the keeper to give Puneet Datey his third wicket.
This brings Akash Deep & Mukesh Kumar to the crease. Bengal's deficit stands at 73, MP need one wicket for a lead.
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Bengal lose their eighth

Kumar Kartikeya has dismissed Praditpa Pramanik lbw with a slider from aeround the wicket.
Pramanik seems very unhappy with the decision. He has a wry smile on his face as he walks off, pointing to the possibility of an inside edge. Umpire Ravikant Reddy had no such doubts inhis mind. One look at the angle and it also appeared as if the ball may have been going down leg.
Remember, there's no DRS.
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Mumbai strike early on day three

From Just Cricket: Under clear blue skies on a day 3 pitch, where there is hardly any help for the bowlers, Mumbai picked up their first wicket of the day, courtesy Mohit Avasthi. Captain Karan Sharma just poked the back of a length delivery by the medium pacer which was caught at the second slip by Sarfaraz Khan as he moved quickly to his right and took a low catch.
Karan departs for 27 after putting on a 60-run partnership with opener Madhav Kaushik after UP were two down for four runs on day 2. Rinku Singh comes in at No. 5. UP 64/3
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Maiden first-class century for Shahbaz

On 99, he was first involved in a terrible mix-up with Pradipta Pramanik.
Having pushed the ball towards point, he took off for a run and was halfway down when his partner sent him back. Luckily for him, a fumble from the fielder allowed him an opportunity to make his crease.
Off the next ball, he pushes one to mid-off and scampers the run to let off steam. Belatedly, he realised he timed the ball so well that he could even make the second. The entire Bengal team was n the balcony to applaud. Fist pump from coach Arun Lal, instructions from Manoj Tiwary. Shahbaz himself was mighty pleased and celebrated the landmark with gusto.
The very next ball after the hundred, he creamed a juicy half-volley to the cover boundary to bring the deficit down to 85. Bengal have three wickets standing.
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Patidar reprieves Pramanik

Praditpa Pramanik has hung in nervously for 22 deliveries. Finally thinks there's one in the slot for him to drive and goes after an Anubhav Agarwal away-swinger. He induces a thick edge as Pramanik drives and Rajat Patidar puts down an absolute dolly in the gully. Would've been a perfect start for Anubhav Agarwal in his very first over of the morning. In an innings that has lasted 82 overs, he has bowled all of six. He was certainly furious at that drop, letting out some steam. Bengal 247 for 7, trail by 91
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Tiwary falls after stunning rearguard

He breezed through from 90 to 100 via four scoring shots, including two boundaries. When he raised his 29th first-class century, his second in a row, he released his pent up emotions with a handmade note to his family - wife Sushmita, pet dog Maximus and son Vivaan.
It was particularly special as it had come with Bengal having their backs to the wall at 54 for 5. Tiwary had iced his knees all night, even taken pain killers to ensure he was ready.
Soon after getting to his century, Tiwary was out to a sweep off offspinner Saransh Jain. Just a ball prior to his dismissal, he had top-edged a sweep that fell in no man's land. He attempted a repeat, except the ball that got him was a lot fuller, and he ended up toe-ending it to Rajat Patidar at slip.
Since then, Bengal have also lost the wicket of Sayan Mandal, the allrounder who was picked ahead of Ishan Porel to give the team batting depth.
It's now on Shahbaz and the lower order to try and narrow down the deficit further. It's now within a 100. Eveb-stevens
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Day 3: Hello & welcome

The moving day.
Mumbai are in command, thanks in no small part to Hardik Tamore, who has made the most of his opportunities. He wouldn't have played had Aditya Tare been fit and available. Here he is now, having made a superb first-class hundred that hs given his team total control of the semi-final against Uttar Pradesh.
In Alur, Manoj Tiwary battled through pain and broken cartilages to put together a century stand with Shahbaz Ahmed, the player he fought to include in the team as captain four years ago. Bengal's Ranji dream is alive, but MP are marginally ahead.
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Mumbai dominate

Day 2, stumps at Just Cricket:
Mumbai dominated the second day, riding on Tamore's hundred and Mulani's fifty to post a first-innings total of 393 from the overnight score of 260 for 5. This was after the first session was washed out. Spinners Karan and Saurabh shared seven wickets between them, but Tamore had taken Mumbai to a competitive total by then.
Then, with the ball, Deshpande and Kulkarni picked up a wicket each inside the first four overs to leave UP at 25/2, at stumps. UP still trail by 368 runs.
A crucial third day for both teams awaits.
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Tiwary, Shahbaz lead Bengal fightback

Day 2, stumps in Alur:
Tiwary and Shahbaz walk back with the century stand now standing at 143 and counting. They’re both tired but very satisfied. They came together when Bengal reeling at 54 for 5.
Tiwary countered spin his own way, by successfully employing his sweeps and reverse sweeps. Shahbaz was more conventional in his shot selection, seemingly intent on playing behind the line to play orthodox shots.
MP went flat in the final session, and for a while it looked like they were the side counting down the overs for stumps. All said, they’re still marginally ahead with Bengal’s deficit now 144. An early wicket tomorrow could well open the floodgates. A keenly contested first session will set the tone for a cracking day three.
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Double blow for UP

Mumbai were on the money from the very first over, with Dhawal Kulkarni removing opener Samarth Singh in the fifth ball of the innings when he was caught behind by Tamore. In the fourth over, No.3 Priyam Garg missed the ball from Tushar Deshpande that came in while going for a drive and was bowled for three. UP 4/2 in no time. Can their captain Karan Sharma help the team recover from the collapse?
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Mumbai bowled out for 393

A few quick wickets in the third session of the day brought UP back into the match as they bowled Mumbai out for 393. Top-scorer Tamore was the last batter to be dismissed, for 113 runs. After a 40-run partnership between him and their last recognised batter Tanush Kotian, Mumbai lost their last four wickets for seven runs. Offspinner Karan Sharma added two more wickets to his day 1 tally to finish the innings with figures of 4 for 46, while left-arm spinner Saurabh Kumar scalped three wickets.
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Fifties for Tiwary and Shahbaz

Their partnership has reached a 100. MP's bowlers have gone flat. And the first ball after drinks proves so. It's a long hop from Anubhav Agarwal and Shahbaz climbs into it and sends this flat-batted pull to the midwicket fence. The crowd that has seated themselves along the boundary wall at the ground are on another trip altogether. 'RCB! RCB!' they yelp, seemingly to get Rajat Patidar's attention. Then they belatedly realise Shahbaz is RCB too. And then there's the usual signature chants of RCB, RCB! Everyone's happy.
Shahbaz has rode a bit of luck along the way. He was on 4 when a loud shout for lbw off Kartikeya was turned down by umpire Ravikant Reddy. Replays suggested the ball would've hit leg stump. Bengal should've been 58 for 5 then. Instead, here they are 154 for 5 and looking good for a lot more.
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This Hardik can bat too

Srinidhi has an update from Just Cricket: If you are a batter who is playing his first first-class match this season, that too a semi-final, not many would think of going for a risky shot while batting on 98. But that's what Hardik Tamore did, to score his second hundred in the Ranji Trophy.
Such was his confidence that he neatly guided the ball in the gap with a reverse sweep to pick up two runs and reached the three-figure mark off 172 balls. An important knock for the wicketkeeper, an important knock for Mumbai as they get past 350 against UP. He may have not even played this game had Aditya Tare not injured his finger.
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Tamore-Mulani in century stand for Mumbai

Finally, UP broke Mumbai's sixth-wicket partnership when offspinner Karan Sharma dismissed Mulani for 50, just five minutes before tea. Tamore and Mulani drove Mumbai's progress on day 2 and put on 113-run partnership. Wicketkeeper Tamore, who came in as a replacement for seasoned Aditya Tare after he was sidelined due to a finger injury, is two runs shy of his second first-class century. This was the 24-year-old's first match of this Ranji season and he has grabbed the opportunity with both hands. For the left-handed Mulani, it was his second fifty on the trot, coming off in 124 balls.
However, for the majority of the second session, UP toiled for a wicket. There was nothing on the pitch for the pacers after some early movement in the air due to overnight rain. None of the bowlers really troubled the batters as the Mulani-Tamore kept ticking the scorecard. UP's short-ball ploy was also not successful against the duo, who looked unflustered to their approach and varying fielding settings. Mumbai will be a happy bunch going into the third session at 347 for 6 .
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ICYMI

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Tiwary, Shahbaz fight for Bengal

They were in dire straits at 54 for 5. But a hobbling Manoj Tiwary, batting with a broken cartilage, and Shahbaz Ahmed have blunted the MP attack for a better part of the last hour. Crease occupation has been their main fovus. From time to time, the shots have come off juicy half-volleys too, but largely they've played without any blemish.
There was a brief flutter when Shahbaz nicked behind on 15, only for the umpires to refer upstairs for bump ball. Replays clearly showed it went to Himanshu Mantri on the half-volley. Bengal 90 for 5, trail by 251.
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Mumbai steady after delayed start

Batters Shams Mulani and Hardik Tamore made a steady start on day 2, after the first session was washed out without a ball being bowled due to overnight rain. With the help of some moisture, UP pacers Shivam Mavi and Yash Dayal were able to move the ball comfortably but Mulani and Tamore looked unfazed by the challenge.
They were happy to stick to singles and put the loose balls to the boundary. They brought up their unbroken sixth-wicket partnership of 50 runs in 99 deliveries. Mavi, particularly, was impressive with the ball, targeting the stumps but was unable to pick up a wicket. His first spell on Wednesday reads: 5-1-11-0. With Mumbai's total nearing 300, UP need a wicket or two to get back into the game.
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Datey removes Easwaran as Bengal slide

First wicket to pace in the innings.
Brought in to bowl only in the ninth over, Puneet Datey gets into the wickets column in his third over with a peach. Bowls it full, draws Abhimanyu Easwaran into a poke and the thick edge is gleefully taken by Himanshu Mantri. A brief period of consolidation for Bengal is over. Manoj Tiwary stands in the way of MP and a massive first-innings lead. He has rookie Abhishek Porel for company. Bengal 44-4
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Tiwary on the attack

You walk in at 11 for 3. Four fielders around the bat, waiting to pouch anything that lobs. You're behind by a long, long way. What do you do?
Sweep your first ball, and then reverse sweep the next two to try and throw the spinner off gear. Tiwary giving Saransh Jain something to think about Already.
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Bengal unravelling quickly

Bengal have lost their third wicket in the first over after lunch.
Saransh Jain, the offspinner,beats Anustup Majumdar with a quicker one. He jabs at the delivery and gets a thick edge that is taken superbly by Rajat Patidar at slip. Bengal 11 for 3, with Easwaran and Tiwary needing to play epics to stay in this.
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Kumar Kartikeya strikes for MP

Madhya Pradesh's out-of-the-box move has brought them two early wickets in the very first over.
Overcast conditions, hint of moisture - everything pointed to the use of seam bowlers early on, but they went with Kumar Kartikeya's left-arm orthodox, and he beats Raman with sharp turn.
He shaped to cut, only for the ball to spin back in sharply to roll back onto the stumps off an inside edge. Raman seemed to have just checked his shot at the last moment. Maybe it would've flown off a thick outside edge had he gone hard at it. Bengal 0-1.
Off the last ball of the over, he went around the wicket and got one to drift in and fizz through to beat Sudip Gharami's outside edge as he played inside the line. Bengal 0-2.
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MP finish with 341

At 323 for 6, it promised to be a lot worse for Bengal, but the fast bowlers and Shahbaz have regathered themselves in the second hour to pick up 4 for 18 and end MP's march at 341. Mukesh Kumar finishes with four wickets, Shahbaz takes three.
Meanwhile, Mumbai v UP at Just Cricket will begin at 12.30pm. The first session was lost entirely due to a wet outfield.
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The Saurabh Kumar journey

As we wait for the umpires to inspect the outfield at Just Cricket, this is a good time for you to read on Uttar Pradesh's Saurabh Kumar and his tough journey into the world of top-flight cricket.
If UP are in the semis today, it's as much because of his efforts as it was due to Karan Sharma's. The opening day yesterday was challenging in many ways, can he turn the tide UP's way?
My colleague Daya Sagar caught up with Saurabh Kumar between matches.

Mantri's long vigil ends

Three-hundred and twenty seven balls. 165 quality runs. And his maiden first-class century has lifted Madhya Pradesh to a position from which they can potentially dictate terms.
He's out looking to play a short-arm jab to an away-going short of length delivery from Mukesh Kumar. He gets a thin under-edge with wicketkeeper Abhishek Porel taking a low catch diving forward. Second wicket of the morning for Bengal. MP 333 for 8.
The entire dressing room stands to applaud a fine, fine innings.
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Mantri drives MP with 150

The Bengal fast bowlers have been erratic this morning. Loose balls have been aplenty, and the MP batters have cashed in.
Puneet Datey began the surge with a series of lovely cover drives, and Himanshu Mantri, sedate and compact all day on Tuesday, has joined in to build past 150.
The half-century of the partnership was raised in just 70 balls, and just when there an air of despondency in the Bengal camp, they’ve found some relief in the form of a wicket. Puneet Datey is gone for a well-made 33, caught behind off Shahbaz Ahmed.
Manoj Tiwary, the senior batter and former captain, has been playing a more active role in terms of field placements this morning. This isn’t to say he has overruled designated captain Abhimanyu Easwaran, but it makes you wonder if these are signs of desperation in the Bengal camp. The wicket should’ve helped.
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Mumbai vs UP: First session all but washed out

From Just Cricket : The umpires inspected the outfield at 10am and weren't entirely convinced after seeing some wet patches. The super-sopper is called onto the ground in an attempt to dry the outfield. Next inspection is at 11.30am .
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Day 2: Hello & Welcome

Mumbai and Madhya Pradesh will be looking to push towards 300 and beyond as their Ranji Trophy semi-final fixtures resume against Uttar Pradesh and Bengal respectively.
The opening day was about two left-handers with contrasting styles. Mumbai's Yashasvi Jaiswal is all flair and flamboyance, and is now learning to marry that with consistency. MP's Himanshu Mantri is more old-school, a stonewaller who can blunt attacks the khadoos way.
Here's Srinidhi Ramanujam on Yashavi Jaiswal and the art of hanging on.
Shashank Kishore, meanwhile, looks back on a partnership for Madhya Pradesh that brought together a wicketkeeper in a new role and a rookie who has been backed to play fearlessly.
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Mantri, Raghuwanshi power MP

Day 1, stumps in Alur:
Himanshu Mantri rose through the age-group circuit being a middle order batter. When Chandrakant Pandit took over as Madhya Pradesh coach two years ago, he quickly realised Mantri was batting two positions lower. Having worked with him through the off-season, Pandit was convinced that Mantri’s technique and grit would be better utilised at the top.
The move up the order was a new challenge, and he embraced it quickly. Mantri debuted in 2019-20, and spent a better part of the next two seasons on the fringes. His penchant to bat long and bat big, sadly, had pigeonholed him as a red-ball specialist only. Without the regular diet of white-ball cricket, Mantri was itching for opportunities to prove himself. So when Pandit offered him the opportunity to open this season, he jumped.
Tuesday, the opening day of Madhya Pradesh’s Ranji Trophy semifinal against Bengal, was further validation of Pandit’s backing and Mantri’s belief. He batted through the day calmly, unhurried by the bowlers or the circumstances around him, to construct a maiden first-class century to bail the team out of choppy waters and finish unbeaten on 134 off 280 deliveries as MP end with 271 for 6. He was helped along the way by Akshat Raghuwanshi, who made a fine half-century.
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Mumbai go past 250

From 24/2, Mumbai recovered well to post 260/5 at stumps on the first day of the semi-final against UP. Jaiswal's century, Tamore's unbeaten fifty lifted the team to a respectable total. There was a brief phase when Sarfaraz Khan entertained with a 52-ball 40, comprising five fours, before falling to a mistimed reverse sweep. Tamore's late push was equally important to not lose the momentum in the last session. UP, despite starting well on a green Just Cricket pitch, couldn't apply pressure when the sun came out. This was evident as Mumbai, who made 58 runs in the first session, added 92 runs in the next 27 overs. Overall, it was Jaiswal's day out.
With five wickets in hand and Tamore unbeaten on 51, with Shams Mulani on 10 not out, Mumbai would be keen to bat long on Wednesday. But a few quick wickets in the morning session can bring UP back into the game.
An exciting day 2 awaits...
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Jaiswal falls after ton

At Just Cricket , the youngster brought up his second straight century, off 226 balls, batting almost through the day and helping Mumbai rebuild after early jitters. He also shared three crucial fifty-plus partnerships with Parkar, Sarfaraz and Hardik Tamore to guide Mumbai past 200 from 24 for 2. Jaiswal reached his second first-class hundred with a backfoot cover drive. Once he reached the three-figure mark, there was a huge applause from the Mumbai dressing room. However, in the very next delivery, he was caught behind off Karan Sharma when he edged one down the leg side, unnecessarily. Mumbai 233/5
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Century No. 1 for Himanshu Mantri

Himanshu Mantri has slowly run Bengal ragged. In doing so, he has brought up one of the most satisfactory moments of his nascent careet so far - a maiden Ranji century that has put Madhya Pradesh firmly in control.
He joined hands with Akshat Raghuvanshi with the scorecard reading 97 for 4. It was a precarious position to be in, but Raghuwanshi's enterprise rubbed off on Mantri. Resolute in defence and keen on stonewalling the bowlers until then, he opened up to play some wonderful shots. Particularly impressive was the pull shot - the ability to pick lengths and roll his wrists quickly to play all along the ground has stood out.
The partnership has crossed 100 and Bengal are running out of ideas, it looks like.
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Mumbai up the ante

Mumbai take tea at 150 for 3 . After a sedate start where they posted just 58 runs for the loss of two wickets in the first session, Mumbai have added 92 runs in 27 overs, losing only No. 4 Suved Parkar for 32. Clearly, Sarfaraz's presence has increased the scoring rate, with the batter now unbeaten on 31. His 44-ball knock comprises four fours so far, and he has looked to attack any loose delivery after settling in. With Jaiswal, who hit three quick fours after reaching his fifty, Sarfaraz put on an unbeaten 63 runs for the unbroken fourth-wicket stand. Jaiswal remains on 65 not out off 174 balls
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Jaiswal fifty leads Mumbai recovery

After a hundred in the quarter-final against Uttarakhand, Jaiswal scores 50 off 150 balls with a single to mid-on off Saurabh, in the crucial semi-final. After two dropped chances, Jaiswal changed his approach a bit, minimised the risk by playing down the ground and hit just two fours in the last hour. As he said in an interview with ESPNcricinfo recently, "You need to keep scoring runs, and that's the thing about Mumbai cricket." Can he convert this into a big score and lift Mumbai to a competitive total?
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Akshat 'no fear' Raghuwanshi on the charge for MP

The game has come alive as we approach the tea interval.
Akshat Raghuwanshi has decided pushing and prodding against spin ain't going to get them anywhere. So he steps out and lofts Shahbaz Ahmed cleanly with the spin while going over the top and all along the ground while hitting against the turn.
While sweeping off Pradipta Pramanik, he's had the awareness of getting outside the line and then going through with his shots. So far, his has been a game without half-measures. All along, Himanshu Mantri continues to bat serenly at the other end, unhurried.
Flurry of boundaties from overs 50-52. Madhya Pradesh 146 for 4.
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Wicket in Alur, wicket in Just Cricket

Shahbaz Ahmed breaks the stoic fourth-wicket stand by dismissing MP captain Aditya Shrivastava in his first over after lunch. A harmless delivery, really. Shrivastava saw him drop short and shaped to cut but this was too close to the body. He could only end up chopping on. MP 97-4.
Over at Just Cricket

Jaiswal v Rajpoot

Srinidhi from Just Cricket: Ankit Rajpoot has been at the receiving end twice against Jaiswal after lunch. First, the opener got a reprieve at 33 in Rajpoot's second over of the session, when he nicked a ball that was pitched on the fourth stump, going for a drive and was caught by the wicketkeeper Dhruv Jurel, or that's how it looked so, initially. But the umpire was unmoved after a huge appeal from the UP players. Replay suggested that the ball popped out of the glove before the keeper got hold of it. UP look desperate for a wicket here as the partnership between Parkar and Jaiswal swelled to fifty.
The drama did not end there. Jaiswal got another life soon after, at 37 . In Rajpoot's next over, the opener went for an uppish shot towards third man and Rinku Singh dropped a catch at gully, while jumping in the air. Rajpoot looked clearly unhappy after two missed chances.
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Bengal keep thinga tight after lunch

Twenty-five minutes since lunch and Madhya Pradesh have added 5 runs to their lunch score of 75 for 3.
Bengal are currently operating with an in-out field. They've cut out boundary options on the off-side, but have ensured Mukesh and Akash Deep stick to the off-stump, fourth-stump line to be more specific.
So far, Himanshu Mantri and Aditya Shrivastava haven't fallen for it, seemingly mindful of the two slips waiting, even if point is deep.
Akash Deep is getting some purchase off the surface. There's been some zip and the carry through to Abhishek Porel has been very encouraging. Mukesh is just being Mukesh - robotic and around off-stump on a length. Not giving anything away to the batters.
Interesting passage.
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Jaiswal, Parkar rebuild for Mumbai

Lunch, Day 1: Srinidhi Ramanujam from Just Cricket: After two quick wickets, Yashasvi Jaiswal has steadied the innings with some eye-pleasing drives for Mumbai. Though initially, he was happy to leave any ball that was pitched outside the off stump, he has now looked comfortable to go for it; playing a cautious innings.
For Uttar Pradesh, bowlers have kept it tight, especially, Yash Dayal. The left-arm pacer has had a few close appeals against the left-handed Jaiswal but has not been successful in breaking his defence.
Suved Parkar, on the other hand, has been happy to take his time to get going and has not played a hurried shot. The right-hander is coming off a double hundred on his debut, in the quarter-finals against Uttarakhand. Mumbai 58/2 at lunch.
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Bengal on top as Patidar falls

Madhya Pradesh's batting lynchpin is gone. Abhimanyu Easwaran brings Mukesh Kumar back for one final crack before lunch and he gets Rajat Patidar. He pushes at the length ball outside off, jabs at the ball, and nicks behind to Manoj Tiwary who takes a good, low catch at first slip. Shubham Sharma and Aditya Shrivastava have a long road up the tricky hill if they're to post a decent first innings score. Madhya Pradesh 75-3 at lunch in Alur
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Pramanik strikes immediately for Bengal

Prior to today, Pradipta Pramanik last played a first-class game in 2019. That's almost a lifetime ago, considering the pandemic impact and the lack of cricket in the intervening period.
He warmed the bench for each of the league phase matches and the quarterfinal, seemingly because they already had a similar bowler in Shahbaz Ahmed. In this game, Bengal specifically wanted a second spinner, presumably because they saw the kind of impact Saurabh Kumar made for UP against Karnataka.
He's brought into the attack in the 28th over and strikes with his very first ball, and it's a beauty too. Drifts in,grips the surfcace and squares Shubham Sharma up as the ball beats the outside edge to crash into the stumps. Massive wicket because he was looking rock solid. Madhya Pradesh 65/2
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Bengal's selection call

It's a tough one.
Once it became evident they wanted to play a second left-arm spinner in Praditpa Pramanik, it was always going to be a tussle for the one remaining slot between Ishan Porel and Sayan Mandal.
Where Porel is a seamer in a true sense, someone who bowls in late 130s-early 140s, and gets the ball to dart around both ways, Mandal is a wicket-to-wicket bowler, capable of playing a holding role. Someone who can give the pacers a bit of a breather.
On the basis of what we've seen of the surface so far, it doesn't appear to be one that will give him a lot of help. There's hardly any grass, it's a hot day and the early morning moisture seems to have vanished. Mandal will have to do much more than just hold an end up. So far, he has picked 17 wickets in 21 first-class matches.
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Mantri, Shubham solid for MP

49 Deliveries taken by Himanshu Mantri to score his first boundary. It came off an exquisite cover drive. Since then, he's hit three more.
Things have eased considerably after drinks for MP. There hasn't been much moisture on the surface. That said, the odd ball has stopped on the batters, so it hasn't been a surface where you can fearlessly hit through the line. Mantri and Shubham have been prepared for the hard grind, even if it means they make slow progress. This partnership is looking promising, but Bengal are very much in it. Absorbing viewing this morning.
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One down for MP!

Mukesh Kumar has been tight for Bengal first up. He’s troubled batters with the nip-backer. Set up Yash Dubey with two deliveries around the fourth stump. And then brought one back in off the seam and Dubey fell to the trap. He made the mistake of closing the bat face and playing through mid wicket, where he may have been better off playing to mid-on. Once it hit the pad, he was a dead duck.
Mukesh relies on such minute deviations off the pitch. His consistency of lengths and line makes him a tough proposition on helpful pitches. Akash Deep is the hustler, has the extra pace that has made the batters play back, at times even to slightly fuller deliveries. It’s this split-second indecision that has brought him rewards a lot of times. It’s a wonderful working combination for Bengal. They’ve lost the toss on a good pitch but the new ball bowlers have been at it so far and quite superbly at that.
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Shaw out for a duck

Uttar Pradesh have their first wicket! And it's the big wicket of Prithvi Shaw, the Mumbai captain. Left-arm pacer Yash Dayal, coming off a breakthrough IPL season with the champions Gujarat Titans, dismisses the opener for duck. Shaw goes for a drive only to get caught at the second slip by Priyam Garg in the very first over. What a start for UP this is!