Mumbai: Skipper Manoj Tiwary and lower order batsman Pankaj Shaw cracked individual hundreds but could not save Bengal from suffering a huge 355-run defeat against Madhya Pradesh in the five-day Ranji Trophy quarter final in Mumbai on Sunday.
Starting the final day on 113 for 3 and chasing an improbable victory target of 788, Bengal were kept in the fight till the extended tea session by Tiwary (124), Shaw (118) and Ashok Dinda (52) before they folded up for 432.
Lanky pacer Ishwar Pandey once again led the bowling honours for MP with a haul of 4 for 93 to add to his first innings tally of 4 for 45, while debutant pacer Chandrakant Sakure finished with a match haul of six wickets that included his second innings 3 for 114.
MP, who thus recorded their second outright win over Bengal in nine outings in the tournament, now take on 40-time champions Mumbai in the five-day semi finals commencing at Cuttack on February 13.
When play started on the final day, the only point of interest was whether Bengal - similar to last year when they denied MP an outright win - could repeat the feat.
The loss of two wickets in successive overs pegged them back but Tiwary, who stroked his way to 14 fours and 3 sixes in 161 balls, and Shaw - who was the last batsman to be dismissed after facing 137 balls and striking 13 fours and four sixes - put on 108 for the sixth wicket to prolong the fight.
Tiwary fell seven minutes before lunch in trying to hit Pandey, whom he had smacked for two sixes off successive balls last evening, for a maximum over mid-off and was caught.
After lunch, Shaw kept one end up, adding 58 runs with Pragyan Ojha (27) for the seventh wicket and 78 for the next wicket with Dinda, who used the long handle to smack ten fours in his 42-ball cameo.
The game ended when Pandey caught and bowled Shaw with the second new ball soon after dismissing Dinda while Sakure accounted for Veerpratap Singh.
Brief scores: Madhya Pradesh 348 and 560 for 9 decl. beat Bengal 121 and 432 (S Mondal 39, M Tiwary 124, P Shaw 118, A Dinda 52; I Pandey 4 for 93, C Sakure 3 for 114, J Saxena 2 for 96) by 355 runs.
MP coach Harvinder Singh Sodhi exuded confidence for the tough semi-final clash against Mumbai following his side's crushing victory over Bengal
"This game has been a tremendous morale-booster for the team. We have dominated the game for five days. So that's a very positive thing that has happened in this game and this should really help us against Mumbai," said Sodhi after the match.
"You have to be very patient and you have to build partnerships. These are the two very important things in a five-day game. You have to follow all these things. This game has helped all our boys and prepared us well for the semi-final.
"It was also important because we were coming to play a five-day game after playing the one-day and T20 tournaments. So in the mental switch from that short format to the long format, I think we have done well in this game and that should also help us (against Mumbai)," he added.