Ranji Trophy 2021-22: Kumar Kartikeya Shines as Madhya Pradesh Thrash Punjab to Reach Semifinals
Spinner Kumar Kartikeya carried on with his brilliant bowling display and spun a web around the Punjab batters as Madhya Pradesh cruised into the Ranji Trophy semi-finals with a 10-wicket victory here on Thursday.
Kartikeya scalped 6 for 50, his second-best bowling figures in First-Class cricket, with another spinner Saransh Jain playing perfect second fiddle, claiming 4 for 100, as Punjab folded for a paltry 203 in the second innings.
Punjab resumed play on day four at 120 for 5, still 58 adrift of their opponent to make them bat again.
After a failure from the top order once again, wicket-keeper batter Anmol Malhotra (34) and Siddharth Kaul (31) began the day cautiously and steadily, and it appeared the duo would help Punjab take a respectable lead.
However, Kaul’s patient display with the bat ended soon after, after Saransh Jain got the crucial breakthrough – the former was stumped by MP keeper Himanshu Mantri – after attempting to step out and haul the latter over midwicket.
Jain’s dismissal set off a quick fall of wickets and helped MP consolidate their strangehold over the match, with both Malhotra and Sanvir Singh (0) departing soon after, courtesy a brilliant bowling display by Kartikeya.
With nothing to lose, it was Mayank Markande (33), who batted with freedom, taking the MP bowlers to the cleaners with one four and three sixes.
But Markande’s lone battle did not prove to be enough as Jain picked up the wickets of both tailenders Vinay Chaudhary (2) and Baltej Singh (6) to finish off the Punjab innings.
With only 26 to chase down, MP openers Himanshu Mantri (9 not out) and Yash Dubey (17) achieved the target without much fuss in just 5.1 overs, helping their side to comfortably book a place in the last four of the elite domestic event.
Punjab: 219 & 203 (Anmolpreet Singh 31, Mayank Markande 33; Kumar Kartikeya 6 for 50).
Madhya Pradesh: 397 & 26 for 0 (Shubham Sharma 102, Himanshu Mantri 89, Rajat Patidar 85, Akshat Raghuwanshi 69; Vinay Chaudhury, 5/83).
M. Pradesh won by 10 wickets PTI SG