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|MP to lock horns with Maharashtra|
Monday, March 22 2004 20:19 Hrs (IST)
They will meet Maharashtra, who beat Haryana in the other semi-final in Pune.
MP, who thus qualified to play in the Elite division, benefited from a 90-run knock (eight fours, four sixes) by Abbas Ali and useful scores from skipper Devendra Bundela (38) and Harbinder Sodhi (47) to reach the target.
Ali, however, had as many as three reprieves, being dropped by Pravanjan Mallick off the bowling of off-spinner Sanjay Satpathy and twice by wicketkeeper Sukhwinder Singh. Skipper Sanjay Raul was the bowler to suffer on each occasion.
Resuming at the overnight score of 84 for two and needing 230 on the last day, the MP batsmen progressed purposefully though overnight batsman Naman Ojha (54) was caught by Rashmi Parida off the bowling of medium fast bowler Deepak Mangaraj.
Sodhi and Bundela then piled 43 runs for the fourth wicket before the former was bowled by Mangaraj. His 47 contained seven boundaries.
As Orissa appeared to tighten the noose around MP's neck, Abbas Ali arrived on the scene with different ideas. He added 58 runs for the fifth wicket with Bundela and then hit up 82 runs with Nikhil Patwardhan (not out 14) for the unbroken sixth wicket stand to seal victory.
Mangaraj (two for 55) and Satpathy (two for 110) were the most successful bowlers for Orissa.
Maharashtra qualifies for Plate finals