Ranji Trophy 2019-20: Against super consistent Karnataka, Bengal face uphill task to make first final in 13 years

Eight-time winners Karnataka have remained consistent and are appearing in their third semifinals on the trot

Press Trust of India, Feb 28, 2020 20:13:08 IST

Kolkata: Bolstered by KL Rahul's availability, heavyweights Karnataka will stand in the way of Bengal's bid to reach their first Ranji Trophy final in 13 years, when they meet in a last-four clash starting Saturday.

Bengal have not made the Ranji Trophy final since 2006-07 when the Deep Dasgupta-led side finished runners-up for the second consecutive season. Their last title came way back in 1989-90 which was also Sourav Ganguly's debut first-class season.

Ranji Trophy 2019-20: Against super consistent Karnataka, Bengal face uphill task to make first final in 13 years

File photo KL Rahul: Twitter/@BCCI

On the other hand, eight-time winners Karnataka have remained consistent and are appearing in their third semifinals on the trot.

Under coach Arun Lal, Bengal have done well collectively and will look to exploit the home advantage over the next few days.

They won back-to-back away matches against Rajasthan and Punjab to seal a last-eight berth where they edged out Odisha in Cuttack.

Former skipper Manoj Tiwary leads the team's batting chart with 651 runs from nine matches at an average of 59.18, which includes a maiden triple century against Hyderabad.

However, the key to Bengal's success has been the middle and lower batsmen's consistency.

Antustup Majumdar, who rescued the team from a precarious situation with a career-best 157 in the quarterfinal, and wicketkeeper-batsman Shreevats Goswami have shown good form.

Rookie all-rounder Shahbaz Ahmed has impressed with the bat, scoring 427 runs while also becoming the side's most successful wicket-taker (30 wickets at 15.00 average) with his left-arm orthodox spin.

"Who knows where he will end up but he is one for the future," Lal said of Shahbaz.

In the absence of Ashok Dinda, the pace department has been a revelation with Akash Deep and Mukesh Kumar sharing 46 wickets between them, while Ishan Porel, who was not available for a few matches owing to India A duty, has 15 scalps to his name.

"Our pacers too have been impressive. Akash Deep just blew away Punjab. They just broke the back of the home side. The entire team is performing well," said Lal, referring to the pacers' strikes that reduced Punjab to 5/3 while chasing 190.

Akash, who missed the quarterfinal due to a niggle, is set to be back at the expense of Nilkantha Das.

It will be an interesting battle between the Bengal pacers and the likes of Rahul, Karun Nair, Manish Pandey and 19-year-old Devdutt Padikkal.

Padikkal is going through a dream run and has become the first player to complete 1000 runs across formats this season. The opener was the highest scorer in this season's Vijay Hazare (609 runs) and Syed Mushtaq Ali (580) tournaments.

He has carried his form into the longer version, amassing 583 runs from nine matches.

Bengal will hope that skipper Abhimanyu Easwaran is back among runs.

Squads

Bengal: Abhimanyu Easwaran (c), Manoj Tiwary, Anustup Majumdar, Shreevats Goswami (wk), Sudip Chatterjee, Abhishek Raman, Koushik Ghosh, Arnab Nandi, Shahbaz Ahmed, Agniv Pan, Ishan Porel, Shreyan Chakraborty, Nilkantha Das, Mukesh Kumar, Akash Deep, Golam Mustafa.

Karnataka: Karun Nair (c), KL Rahul, R Samarth, Devdutt Padikkal, Manish Pandey, Sharath Srinivas (wk), Shreyas Gopal, K Gowtham, Abhimanyu Mithun, Prasidh Krishna, J Suchith, Prateek Jain, Ronit More, BR Sharath.

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Updated Date: Feb 28, 2020 20:13:08 IST


IPL 2020 POINTS TABLE

Pos. Team P W L D Pts.
1
Chennai
0 0 0 0 0
2
Delhi
0 0 0 0 0
3
Kolkata
0 0 0 0 0
4
Punjab
0 0 0 0 0
5
Mumbai
0 0 0 0 0
6
Bangalore
0 0 0 0 0
7
Rajasthan
0 0 0 0 0
8
Hyderabad
0 0 0 0 0
View Full Table




Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 5211 116
2 New Zealand 3959 110
3 Australia 4320 108
4 England 5253 105
5 South Africa 3537 98
6 Sri Lanka 4191 91
Rank Team Points Rating
1 England 6967 124
2 India 7939 118
3 New Zealand 5347 116
4 South Africa 5602 112
5 Australia 5915 110
6 Pakistan 5019 98
Rank Team Points Rating
1 Pakistan 8926 270
2 Australia 7815 269
3 England 6407 267
4 India 12141 264
5 South Africa 6220 259
6 New Zealand 7114 245