Nine Bengal batters scored half-centuries in the quarter-final.© BCCI
Bengal batters will like to do an encore of their stellar quarter-final show but it will be far from easy in their Ranji Trophy semi-final against a gutsy Madhya Pradesh outfit comprising a slew of IPL stars and India’s best domestic coach in Chandrakant Pandit. Madhya Pradesh is considered to be one of the most improved sides and even without a Venkatesh Iyer or Avesh Khan, can prove to be a handful with the likes of RCB star Rajat Patidar, pacer Kuldeep Sen and spinner Kumar Karthikeya in its ranks. Add to it seasoned seamer Punit Datey and talented batter Akshat Raghuvanshi, and the former India stumper’s team becomes worthy contenders for the blue riband championship.
But last edition’s runners-up Bengal are no pushovers, having batted Jharkhand out of their quarter-final with a world record of nine of its batters reaching half-century.
Bengal coach Sourasish Lahiri said that the pitch at the Alur ground will not be as placid as the one that was on offer at the Just Cricket Academy, where they scored 1000 runs across two innings.
“Alur track looks a bit on the drier side and we might have to include an extra spinner at the expense of a fast bowler. Akash Deep has x-factor and we all know that Mukesh Kumar is Bengal’s most consistent bowler over past few seasons,” Lahiri told PTI on the eve of the match.
It is expected that Ishan Porel might be dropped from last match’s playing XI. Left-arm spinner Pradipta Pramanik will be inducted into the XI alongside all-rounder Shahbaz Ahmed.
Topics mentioned in this article