Bengaluru, March 3: Bengal beat Karnataka by 174 runs in the Ranji Trophy semifinals at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Tuesday (March 3) to reach the final of the premier domestic cricket tournament for the first time in 13 years.
Resuming at their overnight score of 98 for three, a star-studded Karnataka featuring the likes of KL Rahul, Manish Pandey and Karun Nair, folded out for 177 while chasing a tough target of 352 in the first session of the fourth day's play.
This is for the third time in as many editions that eight-time champions Karnataka are faltering in the semifinals.
In 2017-18 they lost by five runs in a nail-biting finish to Vidarbha at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata while last year, Saurashtra beat them by five wickets in a match marred by poor umpiring decisions at the Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru.
Mukesh Kumar was the wrecker-in-chief for the hosts in the second innings, returning figures of six for 61 as Bengal made it to the final for the first time since 2007, when they lost to Mumbai by 132 runs.
That winning feeling! 👏👏— BCCI Domestic (@BCCIdomestic) March 3, 2020
Bengal beat Karnataka by 174 runs to seal a place in the @paytm #RanjiTrophy 2019-20 final. 👌👌
Scorecard 👉 https://t.co/8vuWwOBGXI#BENvKAR @CabCricket pic.twitter.com/etHvg7IHtn
Southpaw Devdutt Paddikkal, who was unbeatean on 50 overnight, top-scored for the visitors with 62 while Abhimanyu Mithun played out a nice little cameo with a 30-ball 38 to delay the inevitable.
Anustup Majumdar, who staged a fourth rescue-act this season with an unbeaten 149 in the first innings and hit a combative 41 in Bengal's second innings was adjudged the player of the match.
Bengal, who won their previous Ranji title during the current Board of Control for Cricket in India chief Sourav Ganguly's debut season in 1989-90, will be keen to go for the jugular this time.
Brief scores: Bengal 312 (Anustup Majumdar 149 not out; Ronit More 3/52) and 161 (Sudip Chatterjee 45, Anustup Majumdar 41; Abhimanyu Mithun 4/23, Krishnappa Gowtham 3/15) bt Karnataka 122 (Krishnappa Gowtham 31; Ishan Porel 5/39) and 177 (Devdutt Paddikkal 62; Mukesh Kumar 6/61) by 174 runs.