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Kolkata, March 3, 2020
Saurashtra edged past Gujarat on the fourth day of their semi-final encounter of the Ranji Trophy while Bengal beat Karnataka by 174 runs to make it to their first final in 13 years.
Aarpit Vasavada's hundred, Chirag Jani's fifty and Chetan Sakariya's 45 guided Saurashtra to 274 in Rajkot to set Gujarat a target of 327 runs. Vasavada and Sakariya, who had joined forces when Saurashtra were reduced to 15/5 following Chintan Gaja's fiery bowling display on Day 3, added 90 runs together before Gujarat managed to break the partnership, dismissing Sakariya.
However, Vasavada and Jani denied Gujarat any immediate success as the pair added 109 runs from 236 deliveries to push Gujarat past 210. While Saurashtra lost Jani and Prerak Mankad in quick succession, Vasavada and Dharmendrasinh Jadeja added 41 runs before Saurashtra's innings came to an end with Vasavada's dismissal.
For Gujarat, Gaja picked up seven wickets. Needing 327 runs to win, Gujarat lost Priyank Panchal and ended the day at 7/1.
Earlier, Mukesh Kumar ran through the Karnataka batting line-up, scalping a total of six wickets in the fourth innings to help Bengal to their first Ranji Trophy final since the 2006/07 season. He picked up five of the seven wickets which fell on the fourth day as Bengal bowled out Karnataka for 177 to complete a win.
The right-arm medium pacer set the ball rolling for Bengal as he dismissed Manish Pandey, K. V. Siddharth and Srinivas Sharath within the first five overs of the day. Pandey edged one to the wicketkepper while Bengal skipper Easwaran held on to an easy catch in the slips to dismiss Siddharth.
Sharath was trapped before the wickets on the very next delivery as Karnataka were reduced to 103/6. While K. Gowtham got a reprieve because of the DRS, Kumar then picked up his fourth wicket of the day, getting the overnight batsman Devdutt Padikkal out for 62, to complete a five-wicket haul.
Ishan Porel, who had scalped five wickets in the first innings to help Bengal secure a 190-run lead, and Akash Deep picked a wicket each on the fourth day while Kumar added one more wicket to his account.
While Kumar, Porel and Deep shared the spoils with the ball, Anustup Majumdar was the star with the bat.
The right-hander scored an unbeaten 149 in the first innings and led Bengal's recovery, with Shahbaz Ahmed and Deep chipping in with 35 and 44 runs respectively, helping the side post 312 runs on the board after being reduced to 67/6.