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Akash Deep’s five-for gives Bengal the upper
hand over Madhya Pradesh in the Ranji Trophy


In the Ranji Trophy semifinal on Friday, Bengal bowler Akash Deep produced a game-changing spell on route to a five-wicket haul to put his team in the driver’s seat against the reigning champions Madhya Pradesh. Akash Deep (5/42) disrupted Madhya Pradesh’s comeback effort, which was spearheaded by overnight batsman Saransh Jain (65), taking two wickets in two deliveries. Akash Deep was instrumental in their victory against Jharkhand in the semifinals. He removed Jain’s off-stump and caught Kumar Kartikeya leg-before on the following ball to energize Bengal’s lackluster assault, which also includes Ishan Porel and Mukesh Kumar.

When Madhya Pradesh’s No. 11 batsman Gaurav Yadav was run out, he claimed his fourth five-wicket haul in first-class cricket by removing Avesh Khan. Madhya Pradesh was then bowled out for 170.

Bengal amassed a massive 268-run first-inning advantage, but captain Manoj Tiwary did not insist on a follow-on.

Bengal finished the third day on 59 for 2 and had a 327 run advantage overall, moving closer to the outcome.

The last time the two-time Ranji winners advanced to the final, Saurashtra defeated them.

Since 1989–1990, Bengal has not yet captured the Ranji Trophy.

The opening pair of Abhimanyu Easwaran (19) and Karan Lal (17) left the field quickly after each other, much as in the first innings.

With two more days left, the first innings centurion pair of Sudip Gharami (12 batting) and Anustup Majumdar (9 batting) were still at the wicket.

Anubhav Agarwal, the night watchman, left after adding just two runs after edging one off Mukesh Kumar, after the score had earlier resumed at 56 for 2.

At the other end, left-arm spinner Shahbaz Ahmed removed MP captain Aditya Srivastava (7) as half of their team was out in the pavilion for 89. Akash Deep also took out Rajat Patidar for a duck.

In an attempt to counterattack, Venkatesh Iyer hit Akash Deep for a six, but he ended up becoming Ahmed’s second victim.

However, the left-right combo of Jain and Shubham Sharma (44 not out), with their tenacious partnership of 54 runs, resisted Bengal.

As the two appeared at comfortable, Jain made full most of a break on 37 to finish his fifty.

But after being pulled back into the attack in the post-lunch session, Akash caused the collapse.

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