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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
Report

Kumar Kartikeya, Himanshu Mantri put MP in first Ranji final since 1998-99

Manoj Tiwary and Shahbaz Ahmed fought for Bengal with centuries in the first innings, before they caved in in the 350-run chase

Shashank Kishore
Shashank Kishore
18-Jun-2022
Kumar Kartikeya picked up six wickets in the second innings to see Madhya Pradesh through to the final four, Punjab vs Madhya Pradesh, Ranji Trophy 2021-22, 4th quarter-final, 4th day, Alur, June 9, 2022

Kumar Kartikeya picked up a five-wicket haul each in the quarter-final and the semi-final  •  ESPNcricinfo Ltd

Madhya Pradesh 341 (Mantri 165, Raghuwanshi 63, Mukesh 4-66) and 281 (Shrivastava 82, Shahbaz 5-79, Pramanik 4-65) beat Bengal 273 (Shahbaz 116, Tiwary 102, Kartikeya 3-61) and 175 (Easwaran 78, Kartikeya 5-67, Gaurav 3-19) by 174 runs
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.
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-final last week, he picked up five second-innings wickets against Bengal to take them into the final. The victory margin of 174 runs reflected MP's superior batting.
They set the game up in the first innings to make 341 from 97 for 4, thanks to Himanshu Mantri's 165 and his century stand with 18-year-old Akshat Raghuwanshi. Bengal brought the game back on an even keel from 54 for 5 thanks to centuries from a hobbling Manoj Tiwary and Shahbaz Ahmed. The pair whittled down Bengal's deficit to 68, but MP's batters built on slowly - brick by brick - courtesy Rajat Patidar (79) and Aditya Shrivastava (82) to set up a target of 350.
Bengal resumed a delayed final day needing 254 with six wickets standing after the cream of their top order was dismantled late on the fourth evening. Barring Sudip Gharami, out to a poor lbw call trying to reverse sweep, the rest of the batting caved in against spin.
Abhimanyu Easwaran, the captain, batted through to make a battling 78. But when he became the sixth wicket to fall to a Kartikeya grubber that scooted low to beat his under edge and crash into the stumps, the end wasn't far.
Victory was achieved in the 66th over when seamer Gaurav Yadav bowled Mukesh Kumar to pick up his third wicket of the innings. Bengal had been shot out for 175, with Shahbaz strangely unbeaten on an 82-ball 22, at no stage looking to take the aggressive route despite wickets falling at the other end.
Bengal decided to strengthen their batting by playing an extra allrounder in this game, thereby keeping out Ishan Porel. The move spectacularly backfired with Sayan Mondal, the man given a look-in, managing scores of 0 and 1 in two innings. Having gone wicketless in 14 overs in the first innings, he bowled all of two in the second.
It ends a disappointing season for Bengal, where they showed flashes of brilliance, like in their opening game where they scripted their highest-ever run chase after being shot out for 88 in the first innings by Baroda. MP, meanwhile, have bossed their way through in the quarters and now semis, to set themselves up for the grand finale.
Incidentally, Chandrakant Pandit, who was Mumbai's coach when they lost to Gujarat five years ago, is now with MP. Having masterminded titles with Mumbai and more recently with Vidarbha for two back-to-back seasons, he will 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.

Shashank Kishore is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Bengal Innings
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Ranji Trophy
Elite, Group A
TEAMMWLDPTQUOTIENT
MP3201142.147
KER3201141.648
GUJ312071.105
MEGHA303000.234
Elite, Group B
TEAMMWLDPTQUOTIENT
BENG3300181.308
HYD3210121.197
BRODA302130.939
CHGRH302110.694
Elite, Group C
TEAMMWLDPTQUOTIENT
KNTKA3201161.681
RLYS3102101.324
J + K312060.782
PONDI302110.548
Elite, Group D
TEAMMWLDPTQUOTIENT
MUM3201161.893
SAU3201141.441
ODISA302130.453
GOA302110.791
Elite, Group E
TEAMMWLDPTQUOTIENT
UKHND3210121.398
AP311191.183
SVCS311180.872
RAJ312060.723
Elite, Group F
TEAMMWLDPTQUOTIENT
PNJB3201161.466
HRYNA311191.102
HP311181.006
TPURA302110.581
Elite, Group G
TEAMMWLDPTQUOTIENT
UP3201130.953
VIDAR3102122.116
MAHA311180.898
ASSAM303000.645
Elite, Group H
TEAMMWLDPTQUOTIENT
JKAND3210120.958
CGARH3102100.906
TN301261.035
DELHI301221.069
Plate Group
TEAMMWLDPTQUOTIENT
NAGA3300192.304
MNPR3111101.062
SIKM311191.227
ARPR312060.571
BIHAR301241.249
MIZOR301220.466