Mumbai lead by 662 runs
A dominant Mumbai rode on impressive hundreds from Yashasvi Jaiswal and Armaan Jaffer to put Uttar Pradesh on the back-foot by taking their overall lead past the 600-mark on the fourth day of their Ranji Trophy semi-final in Bengaluru on Friday.
It was a run-feast on day four as the two batted with authority and it is almost certain now that the 41-time Ranji Trophy winners would sail into the summit clash.
The Amol Mazumdar coached side, in their second essay, was poised at 449 for four when stumps were drawn and had an overall lead of staggering 662 runs.
Jaiswal (181), who has hit his maiden hundred in the quarter-final, slammed back-to-back centuries in the current one, as he and Jaffer (127), bulldozed a list-less Uttar Pradesh attack.
Mumbai, which already had a lead of 346 runs, began on their overnight score of 133 for one.
And it was sheer dominance by their young batting duo of Jaiswal and Jaffer, who would surely have made his uncle Wasim proud, by his stellar performance.
The two young Mumbai batters, who started the day when they were in their 30s, pummelled the UP attack into submission with a variety of strokes on display in their 286-run stand for the second wicket.
It was raining boundaries at the Just Cricket Academy as Jaiswal hammered 23 fours and one maximum in his 372-ball innings, while Jaffer smashed 15 fours and two sixes in his 259-ball knock.
Uttar Pradesh had to wait long for getting the first-wicket of the day and pacer Shivam Mavi (1/36) dismissed Jaffer in the 107th over of the innings, to break the mammoth stand.
But that did not deter Jaiswal, who kept playing shots at will and spared no bowler. Jaiswal missed a richly deserved double-hundred as he was caught by Aryan Juval off Price Yadav (2/69).
UP did get two wickets in quick succession, that of Suved Parkar (22) and Jaiswal, but till then the damage was done.
The wide gulf between the two sides was on display. UP used as many as nine bowlers, but managed to get only three wickets in the day.
Left-arm spinner Saurabh Kumar (1/105) had the most expensive figures as he was taken to task by Jaffer and Jaiswal.
At stumps, Sarfaraz Khan (23 not out) and Shams Mulani (10 not out) were holding fort.
The only interest left on the fifth and final day is to see if Mumbai win outright or go through on the basis of first-innings lead.
Brief Scores: Mumbai 393 and 449/4 (Yashasvi Jaiswal 181, Armaan Jaffer 127; Shivam Mavi 1/36) versus UP 180 all out.
Abhimanyu, Shahbaz keep Bengal in hunt but MP firm favourites to reach final
Skipper Abhimanyu Easwaran's unbeaten 52 after Shahbaz Ahmed's superb all-round show gave Bengal a glimmer of hope even as Madhya Pradesh firmly held the upper-hand on the penultimate day of the Ranji Trophy semi-final in Alur.
On a difficult fourth day pitch, the India A batter looked flawless and milked the field at ease, slamming six fours in his 104-ball knock as Bengal were precariously placed at 96 for 4, needing another 254 runs to reach the stiff winning target of 350.
Madhya Pradesh, on the other hand, need six wickets in pursuit of their first Ranji final after 23 years as the match is headed for a thrilling final day finish on Saturday.
Mumbai Indians' left-arm spinner Kumar Kartikeya did the maximum damage for Madhya Pradesh.
He held on to his end, bowling 19 overs non-stop to end the day with figures of 3/35 to jump to joint-second in the top wicket-takers' list this season with Jharkhand's Shabaz Nadeem (25).
Mumbai left-arm spinner Shams Mulani leads the list with 37 wickets.
Giving Abhimanyu company at the other end was the old warhorse Anustup Majumdar, unbeaten on 8 from 25 balls after he was dropped down to No 6 in a tactical move.
Bengal also have a capable batter in Shahbaz waiting in the dressing room but it would be an onerous task on a fifth day pitch as the odd ball has started staying low and some deliveries turning square.
Sloppy umpiring and lack of DRS in Ranji Trophy also let down Bengal as they lost the wicket of an in-form Sudip Gharami (19) given lbw by umpire Ravikant Reddy who failed to notice the ball hitting his glove to a Saransh Jain delivery which was also out of the line.
Abhishek Raman continued his forgettable outing this season, getting out for a second successive duck -- this time off the first ball -- as Bengal got off to a jittery start in their stiff chase of 350.
Abhimanyu at the other end looked at ease and batted with positive intent with Gharami before his partner departed in the 12th over.
Bengal however had luck in their favour also and Abhimanyu survived on 31 when a Kartikeya delivery kissed his off stump but it was not enough to dislodge the bail.
Wicketkeeper-batter Abhishek Porel (7) was promoted to No 4 but he failed to make use of the opportunity as he was done in by one that turned in sharply.
First innings centurion Tiwary got a reprieve on six but he also could not make use of it and in his desperation to get going came down the track but failed to get proper elevation off Kartikeya's bowling.
Earlier, it was Shahbaz Ahmed who did a star all-rounder act and became the fifth from Bengal to score a century as well as take a fifer in the same match for Bengal.
BCCI president Sourav Ganguly was the last from Bengal to achieve the feat against Maharashtra in 2005.
Shahbaz followed up his maiden first-class century (116) in the first innings with a splendid 5/79, sharing nine wickets with his fellow left-arm spinner Pradipta Pramanik (4/65).
Riding on duo's performance, Bengal bowled out Madhya Pradesh for 281 runs in their second essay, from being overnight 163/2 and their last five batters could add only 65 runs.
Shahbaz denied his RCB teammate Rajat Patidar (79) a second hundred this season, when he trapped him plumb in-front to break the imposing century-plus overnight partnership.
MP skipper Aditya Shrivastava looked more aggressive this morning and batted with urgency but Shahbaz's breakthrough triggered a collapse.
In the space of four overs, the left-arm spinner cleaned up 18-year-old Akshat Raghuwanshi, fresh from his attacking half-century in the first innings.
Pradipta Pramanik then came to the fore and earned a third wicket for Bengal this morning when he dismissed Saransh Jain (11) caught by Shahbaz at silly point.
Brief Scores: Madhya Pradesh 341 and 281; 114.2 overs (Aditya Shrivastava 82, Rajat Patidar 79; Shahbaz Ahmed 5/79, Pradipta Pramanik 4/65).
Bengal 273 and 96/4; 37 overs (Abhimanyu Easwaran 52 batting; Kumar Kartikeya 3/35).