Bengal trump Railways to enter Ranji semis

Set 271 to win, Railways shot out for 222 on the final day at Eden Gardens.

REAL QUICK: Ashoke DindaKOLKATA: Hosts Bengal defeated Railways by 48 runs in a heated quarterfinal match on Sunday, to enter the semifinals of the Ranji Trophy. Bengal will take on Maharashtra in their last-four clash, to be played at Indore from January 29 onwards.

The acrimonious quarterfinal at the iconic Eden Gardens - that had seen a row break over allegations of ball-tampering on the second day - ended prematurely on the fifth day when Railways, set a target of 271, were bundled out for 222 in 83.3 overs, with the hosts' skipper Laxmi Ratan Shukla picking up 3/45. Shukla was admirably supported by Ashoke Dinda (2/77), Sourav Sarkar (2/22) and Shib Shankar Paul (2/47), who engineered Bengal's first entry into the Ranji semis since 2006-07.

The Bengal team then did a victory lap for the benefit of a 2000-strong crowd. They had, after all, come this far despite being without their main batsman and regular captain Manoj Tiwary, India paceman Mohammad Shami and Wriddhiman Saha, who was also on the Tour of South Africa.

Railways resumed on 117/3, needing 154 more and with their overnight batsmen Nitin Bhile and Arindam Ghosh (50) - having survived the crucial first hour - looking good for the long haul. It was Dinda who brought the home team the breakthrough in the 10th over of the morning when he trapped Bhille leg-before (5).

Shukla struck next and when he bowled Mahesh Rawat (14), while an out-swinger from veteran Paul induced an edge off the bat of the well-set Ghosh, who had battled for 107 balls for his half-century.

The fact that Bengal dropped four catches (Lahiri, Shukla, Dinda and Arnab Nandi being the offenders) only delayed the inevitable. Paul accounted for Karn Sharma and Sarkar cleaned up the tail with two wickets in two deliveries with the second new ball.

Brief scores: Final day

Bengal 317 (Sudip Chatterjee 96, Wriddhiman Saha 87, Anureet Singh 4-88, Murali Kartik 2-58) and 267 (Wriddhiman Saha 81, Laxmi Ratan Shukla 76, Anureet Singh 5-72, Karn Sharma 2-45) beat Railways 314 (Mahesh Rawat 119, Arindam Ghosh 97, Ashok Dinda 6-105, Shib Paul 3-47) and 222 in 83.3 overs  (Murali Kartik 56, Amit Paunikar 41, Arindam Ghosh 50, Shukla 3/45, Dinda 2/77,  Sarkar 2/22, Shib Paul 2/47) by 48 runs.

ALSO READ: MAHARASHTRA, PUNJAB & KARNATAKA MAKE SEMIS

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