Arpit Vasavada returned to torment Bengal at the same stage on Friday, standing up with an unbeaten 81 to bring Saurashtra closer to their second Ranji Trophy victory, three years after he destroyed their chances in the final. The Saurashtra vice-captain got under Bengal's skin once more by forming two crucial partnerships with Sheldon Jackson (59) and Chirag Jani. The pair gave Saurashtra a match-winning first innings advantage in the 2020 final at Rajkot thanks to their combined score of 106. (57 not out). Vasavada and Jani, a 113-run combination that has never been broken, increased the run rate in the post-tea session, pushing their advantage from the first inning to 143. At the end of day two, Saurashtra was 317 for 5 against Bengal's 174.Vasavada carried on from where he left off and stood strong with an undefeated knock that came off 155 balls following his match-winning double century against Karnataka in the semifinal. He hit 11 boundaries in all. After Jani struck 10 limits while the couple set the rules, she appeared at ease, especially in the final session. Bengal's pace-heavy approach was a significant letdown, taking 46 minutes to make its first breakthrough in the morning session.In a steadfast partnership with nightwatchman Chetan Sakariya, who finished the first hour with a staunch eight off 45 balls, overnight batsman Harvik Desai (50) had already reached his 12th half-century. Desai and Sakariya were bowled by Mukesh Kumar and Ishan Porel for eight runs, but after that, left-handed Vasavada and Jackson took charge in a 95-run combination that set the tone and raised their total over Bengal's 174. Veteran Jackson lost his wicket after hitting his 35th fifty. He pulled Ishan Porel at the wrong time, leaving a hole at the fine leg. Nevertheless, Jani to to Bengal's woes with his exciting strokeplay throughout their century-plus stand, which all but guaranteed their second Ranji victory. making the most of a delay on 26Jani accelerated to his 13th first-class half-century in 72 balls when Shahbaz Ahmed dropped a sitter.
During the post-tea break, which was delayed by 20 minutes due to poor lighting, the play began. Jani jumped on the pedal and drove, pulled, and even straight-drove one with style.Day two's weather at Eden Gardens was foggy and depressing, and this was mirrored in the host team's camp as their pace-heavy assault struggled to grab the initiative in the opening hour of play.While star bowler Mukesh was well neutralised by the overnight pair of wicketkeeper-batters Desai and Sakariya thanks to staunch batting, Akash Deep erred in line and bowled largely on the fifth and sixth stumps.Before the situation improved, Sakariya sustained a few strikes to the body but remained resolute to repel the Bengal pace onslaught. In contrast to day one, the pitch appeared brown, there was no support for pacers, and Akash Deep appeared to be a pale imitation of his former self. Desai was the first wicket to go when he misread the line and was caught in front by a Mukesh Kumar ball that jagged back in. Porel, who appeared to be the attack's best bowler, produced an excellent delivery that clipped Sakariya's off stump. Bengal may have advanced farther if it had put Jackson and Vasavada, two fresh batsmen, in the crease. Akash Deep, on the other hand, moved the ball away from the pads and gave things away. Vasavada and Jackson both escaped with excellent cover drives.
Brief Scores: Bengal 174 vs Saurashtra 317/5 in 87 overs
(Harvik Desai 50, Sheldon Jackson 59, Arpit Vasavada 81 not out, Chirag Jani 57 not out; Mukesh Kumar 2/83, Ishan Porel 2/72). Saurashtra leads by 143 runs.
Ranji Trophy 2023: Arpit Vasavada Puts Saurashtra On Top Against Bengal
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