Sourav Ganguly came roaring back to form with an unbeaten 89 off 104 balls to guide Bengal to the semi-finals of the Ranji Trophy one-day tournament, beating Punjab by four wickets at Kanpur. Chasing 230, Ganguly and Subhomoy Das (60), the openers, took the game away from Punjab with some aggressive hitting in the first 15 overs, as the pair put on 95. Ganguly's stay at the crease ensured Bengal's safety, following a brief stutter where they lost three wickets in 10 balls, still 23 runs adrift of the target. Vikram Singh, the fast bowler, struck double blows in different stages of the innings and finished with four wickets.
Earlier, the Bengal medium-pace duo of Ranadeb Bose (5 for 34) and Sanjib Sanyal (4 for 45) rocked the Punjab batting, restricting them to a fairly modest total of 229. Dinesh Mongia was the only batsman to cross fifty, scoring 76 off 84 balls before falling to Sanyal. Bose cleaned up the tail, taking the last four wickets in quick succession. Bengal will play the winner of the Railways-Tamil Nadu match which is to be held on Friday.
A four-wicket haul by Yusuf Pathan, the Baroda offspinner, helped his side advance to the semi-finals of the Ranji Trophy one-day tournament beating Jharkhand by 35 runs in a low-scoring encounter at Kanpur. After restricting Baroda to 213 for 8, Jharkhand began steadily but were in all sorts of trouble at 70 for 4, losing three wickets in one over by Pathan, who scalped two in as many balls. Manish Kumar was the last to be dismissed, top-scoring with 45, but the steady fall of wickets didn't help their cause.
Earlier, Rishikesh Parab, the right-handed opener, top scored for Baroda with 59. The batsmen were tied down by some accurate bowling by Shahbaz Nadeem, the 16-year old left-arm spinner, who bagged three wickets and conceded only 17 off his 10 overs. Mihir Diwakar, the medium pacer, too chipped in with three wickets. Baroda will play either Karnataka or Uttar Pradesh who will clash in the fourth quarter-final on Friday.