Manoj Tiwary: These runs will have no value to me if I can't help my side

Tiwary, unbeaten on an overnight score of 82, knows his job is only half done and says, "these runs will have no value to me if I can't help my side get a first-innings lead.

Bengal’s Manoj Tiwari in action during the Ranji Trophy semifinal match against Madhya Pradesh at the KSCA Alur Ground near Bengaluru on Wednesday.   -  K MURALI KUMAR

Bengal's batting linchpin Manoj Tiwary again came to his team's rescue on Day 2 of the Ranji Trophy semifinal against Madhya Pradesh, after an insipid show from the top-order had reduced the 2019-20 finalist to 54 for 5 in Alur on Wednesday.

Tiwary and Shahbaz Ahmed fought back in bowling-friendly conditions to put on a century stand and keep Bengal's Ranji Trophy dream alive. Tiwary, unbeaten on an overnight score of 82, knows his job is only half done and says, "these runs will have no value to me if I can't help my side get a first-innings lead."

Great players have a feel for the big stage, and Tiwary couldn't have chosen a better moment to turn in such a gritty performance. Efficient and authoritative, this was as flawless an innings as you'll see under pressure in a knockout. It was an adroit knock from a player in total command of his skills, someone who knew what the situation demanded.

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What made the innings more special was the fact that Tiwary was batting with an injured right cartilage. He would later admit the 182-ball stay at the crease took a lot out of him physically.

"During the last game (quarterfinal vs Jharkhand), I got run out (in Bengal's second innings). While diving to get back inside the crease, my knee got swollen up. For the next two days, I wasn't sure if I would be fit in time for the semis. But credit to our physio who was able to get me ready in time for the game", Tiwary told reporters after stumps on day two.

"But once you are in the middle, the adrenaline rush takes over, and you are not thinking about the injury," he added.

RELATED: Tiwary, Shahbaz hold firm for Bengal on Day 2 after MP makes inroads  

If Tiwary was in discomfort, he didn't show it save the occasional hobble while running the singles. He was getting right forward to caress the half-volleys through covers and stepping out to smother the turn on offer from the spinners. He got to his half-century off 121 balls and, with it, ensured that Bengal lived to fight another day.

Tiwary gave the lowdown on his knee injury. "Last year, before the season began, my cartilage broke in the training session. But I continued putting a lot of pressure on the knee before consulting the doctor or taking the injection because the training schedule was such that I couldn't take time out to nurse the knee.

"Four months ago, I took two injections. It is helping me stay on the ground for five days. Eventually, I've to go under the knife."

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