Ahmedabad, Nov 23: Abhimanyu Mithun's brilliant bowling at death enabled defending champions Karnataka to edge out Bengal by six runs in a thrilling semi-final of the National One Day Championship for the Vijay Hazare Trophy, here today.
Karnataka will meet Punjab in the final scheduled on Tuesday (November 25). Batting first, Karnataka scored a respectable 268 for nine in 50 overs after being down at 222 for nine. It was skipper R Vinay Kumar's long handle that took the score past 265 with the India discard contributing 39 off 30 balls with six fours.
In reply, Bengal were cruising along at 256 for six needing 13 off the last two covers. To their horror, the lower-order failed to keep their cool as they lost the last four wickets for the addition of six runs with the likes of Sayan Sekhar Mondal (1), Ashoke Dinda (0) playing irresponsible shots to give it away.
Bengal were all out for 262 in 49.5 covers as Mithun (3/40) gave away only two runs removing the last two batsmen as Bengal required nine from the final over. Senior pro Manoj Tiwary (56) must also take the blame as he played 92 balls before being run out courtesy a direct throw from Abrar Qazi.
Young left hander Sudeep Chatterjee (67 from 68 balls) played a matured innings before he was foxed by a Stuart Binny slower delivery. Skipper Laxmi Ratan Shukla played on an off cutter from Binny. Rookie Subhajit Banerjee (30) was finding gaps with ease before he failed to dig out a perfect yorker from Mithun.
Mithun got another yorker on spot when Saurashis Lahiri (24 from 13 balls) was cleaned up in the penultimate ball as a jubilant Vinay picked one off the stumps as souvenir. If there were two villains for Bengal, they were undoubtedly Dinda (2/52), who leaked runs with ball and did nothing with the bat. And second was Mondal, whose presence in playing XI has always been under scanner.
Earlier, Karnataka batsmen got out after getting starts with Robin Uthappa (36), Karun Nair (32) and Binny (50) all being guilty of throwing their wickets. It was Vinay's innings that made the real difference in the end as Bengal paid for those 46 runs for the unbroken 10th wicket stand.
Karnataka 268/9 in 50 overs (Stuart Binny 50, R Vinay Kumar 39 no, Iresh Saxena 2/27) Bengal 262 all out in 49.5 overs (Sudeep Chatterjee 67, Manoj Tiwary 56, Abhimanyu Mithun 3/40). Karnataka won by 6 runs.