The Ranji Trophy 2022 knockouts stage began last week, after the first part of the tournament had been played at the start of the year. Three of the four quarterfinals produced outright results, while Bengal and Jharkhand played out a draw, and the former progressed through on virtue of a first-innings lead.
The phase saw players extending their glorious first-class run, none as significantly as Sarfaraz Khan and Shams Mulani, who currently lead the runs and wickets charts, respectively.
Bengal vs Jharkhand
Saurabh Tiwary, the Jharkhand skipper, would rue his decision to bowl first at the Just Cricket Academy, Bangalore for a long time, as his side spent a long 218.4 overs on the field over more than two days, bagging just seven wickets. Bengal created a unique record in their show of 773/7 declared, wherein each of their top nine batters crossed fifties. Sudip Gharami (186) and Anustup Majumdar (117) converted them to three-figure scores.
Jharkhand responded with 298 in their first innings, with Virat Singh scoring an unbeaten 113. Bengal opted against enforcing a follow-on despite a 475-run lead and managed 318/7 in their second dig, with veteran Manoj Tiwary scoring 136. The two-time champions progressed through to the semis on the virtue of a first-innings lead.
Brief scores: Bengal 773/7d (Gharami 186, Majumdar 117) and 318/7 (Tiwary 136); Jharkhand 298 (Singh 113*, Ahmed 4/51, Mondal 4/71)
Mumbai vs Uttarakhand
The 41-time champions set the tone first up with 647/8 declared having won the toss, with Suved Parkar and Sarfaraz scoring monumental hundreds. Yashasvi Jaiswal matches the feat with 103 in the second innings. Uttarakhand could manage only 114 and 69 in their two innings, respectively, with Mulani returning 5/39 and 3/15.
Despite the heavy defeat, Uttarakhand deserves all the praise for making it to the top eight for the second time in their three years of participation, with its players having endured terrible difficulties in recent years.
Brief scores: Mumbai 647/8d (Parkar 252, Khan 153) and 261/3d (Jaiswal 103) beat Uttarakhand 114 (Mulani 5/39) and 69 (Kulkarni 3/11, Kotian 3/13 and Mulani 3/15) by 725 runs
Karnataka vs Uttar Pradesh
The closest of the lot, the third-quarter final in Alur, was evenly poised till UP were 28/2, and subsequently 115/5 in their run-chase of 213, before young skipper Karan Sharma’s unbeaten 93 powered the side home.
Karnataka had their noses ahead halfway through the game, having secured a 98-run first-innings lead despite managing 253 after being put in to bat on Day 1.
However, UP bowlers bounced back collectively to skittle the Manish Pandey-led side for 114 in the second innings, and their young guns set up the chase later.
Brief scores: Karnataka 253 (Samarth 57, Gopal 56*, Saurabh 4/73) and 114 (Saurabh 3/36) lose to Uttar Pradesh 155 (Garg 39, More 3/47) and 213/5 (Karan 93*, Garg 52, Vyshak 3/47) by five wickets
Punjab vs Madhya Pradesh
MP managed to seize a decisive advantage with a solid 178-run first innings lead, with Shubham Sharma (102), Himanshu Mantri (89) and Rajat Patidar (85) helping them respond strongly after Punjab were bundled out for 219 on Day 1.
Left-arm wrist-spinner Kumar Kartikeya, who recently made his IPL debut for Mumbai Indians, rattled the Abhishek Sharma-led side with 6/50 in the second innings. It took just 5.1 overs for MP to seal a comfortable 10-wicket win.
Brief scores: Punjab 219 (Abhishek 47, Anmolpreet 47, Agarwal 3/40, Datey 3/48) and 203 (Malhotra 34, Kartikeya 6/50, Jain 4/100) lose to Madhya Pradesh 397 (Sharma 102, Mantri 89, Choudhary 5/83) and 26/0 (Dubey 17*, Mantri 9) by 10 wickets
Semifinal 1: Bengal vs Madhya Pradesh, KSCA Cricket Ground, Alur, Bangalore
Semifinal F 2: Mumbai vs Uttar Pradesh, Just Cricket Academy Ground, Bangalore
Final: June 22-26, M. Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bangalore