Bengal face stiff task chasing 472 in final

Published: Sunday, February 4, 2007, 23:53 [IST]
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Mumbai:Bengal captain Deep Dasgupta, with his gritty unbeaten 43, kept his team in with a chance to win after Mumbai set a target of 472 for victory on the third day of the five-day Ranji Trophy Super League final at the Wankhede stadium here today.

At close on the third day, their in-form bastman Manoj Tiwari (19) was giving Dasgupta company. Bengal now need a further 374 for victory with eight wickets standing.

Earlier, Mumbai second innings folded up for 294 at the stroke of tea on this third day with Ranadeb Bose being the strike bowler for Bengal with five for 71.

Starting the day at 113 for two, Mumbai soon lost half centurion Wasim Jaffer for 53 being caught and bowled by Bose with Mumbai on 119 for three. Jaffer faced 92 balls and his innings was laced with eight fours and a six, all of them coming the previous evening.

Next in was the man the crowd was waiting to see, first innings centurion batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar. A huge roar greeted Tendulkar as he walked out to the middle, but he was definitely not at his best.

In the first innings he had stamped his authority on the game in a dramatic fashion, but in the second dig he was less assured. More than once he was surprised by a bit of extra pace or bounce and took blows on the body, most noticeably when he was late on a pull shot against Ashok Dinda and was struck flush on the helmet.

Saurav Sarkar even managed to draw out an error when Tendulkar hit one uppishly back at the bowler, but Sarkar juggled the offering and could not latch on to it.

Still, interspersed between some less than perfect shots, were the gems. The whip through the onside consistently beat the field, and back-foot punches through cover sped away with ease.

In the end, it was a change in the bowling that brought relief for Bengal. Dinda, who had bowled a long spell, gave way to Sourashish Lahiri, and Tendulkar took a bit of a chance. He attempted to hit a short ball wide of the man at cover, but only managed to find Manoj Tiwari. Lahiri had Tendulkar's wicket for the second time in the game, this time only for 43 runs.

Amol Muzumdar and Abhishek Nair ensured that there was no further damage and took Mumbai to lunch on 220 for 5. The post-lunch session proved to be more entertaining than the first, with Nair batting more freely as the lead burgeoned past 400. He struck five boundaries and a six in his 34, while Muzumdar was more conventional getting 37.

Starting the huge chase, Bengal began on a much assured note in the second dig with Deep Dasgupta and Arindam Das adding 39 for the first wicket. The change in bowling worked for Mumbai as Wilkin Mota replaced Ajit Agarkar and he bowled with a lot of purpose, bowling in the zone of uncertainity on and around the off stump.

Mota was rewarded with the wicket of Arindam Das who could not keep down the ball as he tried to cut Mota only to give an easy catch to Wasim Jaffer in the gully. Das made 10.

The next man in Abhishek Jhunjhunwala looked in good touch, striking three beatuifully timed boundaries as he along with his Dasgupta, further frustrated the Mumbai attack.

The two had put on 26 runs for the second wicket when Mumbai captain Amol Muzumdar introduced Ramesh Powar for the first time in the second innings and the move paid off immediately. Jhunjhunwala stepped down the track to the first ball from the offie, but was beaten in flight and wrapped on the pads. The umpire upheld the appeal, though it looked a bit harsh on the batsman. Jhunjhunwala made 20, with three boundaries, after having faced 28 balls.

Manoj Tiwari then joined Dasgupta who was holding one end up, showing a lot of grit and courage as quite a few balls flew past the slip cordon without going to hand.

Tiwari showed his class hoisting Powar for a huge six over long leg to take Bengal to close without any further loss of wickets.

Brief Scores:

Mumbai first innings: 320

Bengal first innings: 143

Mumbai second innings: 294 all out (Wasim Jaffer c and b Ranadeb Bose 53, Rohit Sharma b Ashok Dinda 57, Sachin Tendulkar c Manoj Tiwari b Sourashish Lahiri 43, Amol Muzumdar c Manoj Tiwari b Ranadeb Bose 37, Abhishek Nair c Deep Dasgupta b Sourav Sarkar 34)

Bengal second innings: 98 for two wickets (Deep Dasgupta batting 43, Abhishek Jhunjhunwala lbw b Ramesh Powar 20, Manoj Tiwari batting 19)


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