Can Anustop Saurashtra?
Bengal's Anustup (58 not out) holds the key as visitors strive for another 72 to overhaul Saurashtra's first innings total with four wickets in hand on Day Five of Ranji Trophy final.
Bengal's 'Man Friday' Anustup Majumdar stood between Saurashtra and Ranji Trophy with a defiant unbeaten 58 as the summit clash entered a tantalising final day with the visitors needing 72 runs more. Bengal ended the fourth day at 354-6 as Majumdar added 91 runs for the unbroken seventh wicket stand with Arnab Nandi (28 batting, 82 balls), who showed a lot of courage despite getting hit on the finger by Jaydev Unadkat delivery.
Majumdar, who had bailed Bengal out of a precarious position in the quarters as well as semis (157 and 149*), was the saviour again and got much needed support from Nandi as the duo batted out the entire evening session to keep the match evenly poised going into Day Five.
Poor fielding hurts hosts
The home team was guilty of poor fielding and allowing easy runs to Bengal in the final session where 90 runs were scored. Harvik Desai at first slip dropped a regulation catch of Majumdar, who was on 10 at that time, and it proved to be a costly miss. On an absorbing Day Four, Bengal won the morning and evening session while Saurashtra stayed in the game by taking three wickets in the afternoon.
Resuming the day at 134-3, Sudip Chatterrjee (81 off 241) and Wriddhiman Saha (64 off 184) kept Bengal's fight going with a 101-run partnership, consuming 49 overs in the process. They frustrated Saurashtra in the wicket-less morning session, scoring 89 runs in 29 overs. With the odd ball keeping low, the predictable ploy was to target the stumps and bring the ball back in, which Saurashtra pacers managed to do both with the old and the second new ball.
While Chatterjee, who resumed the day on 47, was solid in defence, Saha lived dangerously. The India Test wicketkeeper, playing his first Ranji Trophy game of the season, survived two close DRS calls for LBW off pacer Jaydev Undakat and a suicidal attempt for a single that could have easily had him run out. He was also dropped in the gully region on 46 but instead the ball deflected to the boundary, bringing up his half century.
Day Five behind closed doors
Meanwhile, the final day of the Ranji Trophy final will be played without any spectators due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the BCCI said on Thursday. "No public will be allowed on the final day. Only the players, match officials and media are allowed," BCCI general manager Saba Karim, who is in charge of domestic cricket, said.
The decision came after the Sports Ministry's advisory to all NSFs to follow the Health Ministry's advisory and avoid large gatherings in sports events.
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