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Ranji Trophy: Vidarbha's stunning comeback vs MP

March 05, 2024 18:56 IST

IMAGE: Vidarbha's players celebrate a wicket against Madhya Pradesh during Day 4 of the Ranji Trophy semi-final on Tuesday. Photograph: BCCI Domestic/X

Vidarbha took command of their Ranji Trophy semi-final with the key wicket of Yash Dubey (94) late on day four as they inched closer to a thrilling victory over Madhya Pradesh in Nagpur on Tuesday.

Heading into the final day on Wednesday, hosts Vidarbha are just four wickets away from setting up a final against Mumbai, while Madhya Pradesh, who still need 93 runs to win, will hope their tailenders can produce an inspired fightback.


The game tilted in favour of hosts Vidarbha in the penultimate over of the day when Aditya Sarwate (2/51) had Dubey caught by Aman Mokhade, dealing a body blow to Madhya Pradesh's hopes of making it to their second final in three years.

Chasing 321 to win, Madhya Pradesh were struggling on 228/6 at stumps on the fourth day with their last recognised batter in Saransh Jain (16 not out) joined by Kumar Kartikeya, requiring a huge effort with the bat with not much left in the tank.

To his credit, Dubey battled hard for Madhya Pradesh with a fine knock even as wickets kept tumbling at the other end. The right-handed batter showed grit and composure in a tough chase with a long haul, consuming 212 balls to get his 94 runs with 10 fours.

Dubey forged a crucial 106-run stand for the second wicket with Harsh Gawali (67 from 80 balls), but once the pair was separated, Vidarbha kept making regular inroads to leave Madhya Pradesh in trouble.

Madhya Pradesh lost the first-innings' centurion Himanshu Mantri for eight in the second essay, but it was the failure of their middle-order trio of Sagar Solanki (12), Shubham Sharma (6) and Venkatesh Iyer (19) which hurt the visitors the most.

Akshay Wakhare was the star for Vidarbha accounting for these three batters to bring his side back into the contest, while Sarwate's late strike to dismiss the dangerous Dubey put the two-time winners in the pole position.

The day, however, began with Vidarbha needing as many runs possible to set a big target for MP. From 343/6, the hosts managed to post 402 with 59 runs coming for the last four wicket, thus setting up a stiff target of 321 runs for the visitors to win at the VCA Ground.

Yash Rathod brought up his century on the fourth day and finished with a high score of 141 off 200 balls, hitting 18 fours and two sixes in the process to lead the way.

Rathod's late surge was crucial in dragging Vidarbha as far as 402 in their second innings, which was certainly an improved performance from their first innings wherein they were bowled out for 170.

For MP, Anubhav Agarwal returned 5/92.Madhya Pradesh had taken a lead of 82 runs in the first innings as they had responded with 252.

Brief scores: Vidarbha 170 & 402 in 101.3 overs (Aman Mokhade 59, Yash Rathod 141, Akshay Wadkar 77; Anubhav Agarwal 5/92) vs Madhya Pradesh 252 and 228/6 in 71 overs (Yash Dubey 94, Harsh Gawali 67).

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