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Ranji Trophy 2019-20 Final | SAU v BEN - Late strike swings tie in Saurashtra’s favour

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Ranji Trophy 2019-20 Final | SAU v BEN - Late strike swings tie in Saurashtra’s favour

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SportsCafe Desk

03/11/2020

A late strike completed a satisfying day for Saurashtra and swung the tie completely in favour of Saurashtra against Bengal in the final of the 2019-20 Ranji Trophy at Rajkot. The hosts posted 425 on the board in the first-innings and have Bengal three down with two days of play remaining.

When viewed in totality, one cannot look at day three at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium and help but feel that Saurashtra’s path to glory is almost inevitable. Chirag Jani was cleaned up in just the second over of the day by Bengal’s most successful bowler in the match thus far, Akash Deep. However, DA Jadeja and Jaydev Unadkat had no plans of surrendering meekly. The stubborn duo added 38 runs for the final wicket to push the hosts’ total past the 400-run mark. 

The bowlers then proceeded to snap up three Bengal wickets before stumps. Much like the first two days, runs were at a premium on a pitch which produced some ‘sleeper’ deliveries. And just like the Saurashtra batsmen, Bengal’s top-order was more than happy to bide their time — in particular, the experienced duo of Sudip Chatterjee and Manoj Tiwary.

After the openers, Sudip Kumar Gharami and skipper Abhimanyu Easwaran, threw away their starts in the space of an over, Chatterjee and Tiwary recovered the ship with a hard-fought half-century stand. But late in the day, Jani — having dismissed Tiwary once off a no-ball — redeemed himself to trap him plumb in front with one that nipped back sharply. 

Wriddhiman Saha walked in and held his own through to stumps, but if Bengal are entertaining any thoughts of overcoming the still mountainous margin of 291 runs, much of their hopes will be pinned on Chatterjee converting his start into a daddy hundred. On the other hand, Unadkat will be keen to write his name into Ranji folklore in what is almost certainly a first-innings final. The Saurashtra skipper needs four more wickets to earn the record of most wickets ever in a single season.

Brief scores: Saurashtra 425 all-out in 171.5 overs (Arpit Vasavada 106, Cheteshwar Pujara 66; Akash Deep 4-98) vs Bengal 134/3 in 65 overs (Sudip Chatterjee 47*; Manoj Tiwary 35; Prerak Mankad 1-7).

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