Ranji Trophy semifinal: Fiery Mukesh seals Bengal's first final in 13 years

Pacers Mukesh Kumar and Ishan Porel dictated Karnataka's 2nd innings collapse as Bengal won the Ranji Trophy semifinal by 174 runs on Tuesday.

Bengal pacer Mukesh Kumar finished with 2nd innings figures of 6-61 in the semifinal victory over Karnataka.   -  rajeev bhatt

At five minutes past 11, with Karnataka tail-enders resigned to their fate and school kids cheering on, Akash Deep cleaned up Abhimanyu Mithun for 38  to consign to history a long and arduous wait for Bengal.

Thirteen years have elapsed since the host last reached the final in the Ranji Trophy. On March 3, 2020, it romped home by 174 runs at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata.

The end came quickly, with Mukesh Kumar running through Karnataka's middle-order in the first hour. He struck in the third over of the morning, dismissing Manish Pandey caught-behind for 12 before removing K.V. Siddharth and S. Srinivas off successive deliveries to leave Karnataka reeling at 103/6.

There wasn't much wear and tear, with a tinge of green on the pitch continuing to help the seamers. The pressure eventually got to Devdutt Padikkal, who was caught-behind for 62; the dismissal completing a richly deserved five-for for Kumar. He finished with six for 61.

READ | Ranji Trophy semifinal: Ishan Porel steps up in battle of supremacy

Dramatic collapse

Krishnappa Gowtham delayed the inevitable with an entertaining 22 off 23 deliveries including four hits to the fence but his dismissal off Porel was the final nail in the coffin. Karnataka's capitulation was swift and dramatic, losing its last seven wickets for just 79 runs to cede the semifinal.

The last time Bengal played a Ranji final (2006-07), current BCCI president Sourav Ganguly and Bengal's present bowling coach Ranadeb Bose were in the playing XI.

Deep Dasgupta, who is in the commentary box for this semifinal, was leading the team, Manoj Tiwary hadn't made his India debut and Shreevats Goswami wasn't a Under-19 World Cup winner yet. Porel was just nine years old.

Incidentally, Arun Lal was part of the side when Bengal last won the Ranji Trophy back in the 1989-90 season. He will hope to recreate the magic starting March 9, this time donning his hat as a coach.

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