Saurashtra beat Bengal by 9 wickets to lift their 2nd Ranji Trophy title

Three years after he crushed Bengal's Ranji Trophy hopes in the final, Arpit Vasavada once again came to haunt them at the same stage again, standing tall with an unbeaten 81 to take Saurashtra closer to their second title, on Friday. The Saurashtra vice-captain, whose 106 handed them a match-winning first innings lead in the 2020 final in Rajkot, once again got under the skin of Bengal, sharing two key partnerships with Sheldon Jackson (59) and Chirag Jani (57 not out). The duo of Vasavada and Jani, who are unbroken in a 113-run partnership, stepped up the run-rate in the post-tea session, extending their first innings lead to 143.

Saurashtra were 317 for 5 at close on day two in reply to Bengal's 174 all out.

Fresh from his match-winning double century against Karnataka in the semifinal, Vasavada continued from where he left off and stood tall in his unbeaten knock that came off 155 balls. He slammed 11 boundaries.

Jani also looked at ease hitting 10 boundaries as the duo dictated terms especially in the final session.

Their pace-heavy attack turning out to be a big letdown, Bengal took 46 minutes to get the first breakthrough in the morning session.

By then, overnight batter Harvik Desai (50) got to his 12th half-century in a dogged partnership with night-watchman Chetan Sakariya who saw off the first hour with resolute eight off 45 balls.

Mukesh Kumar and Ishan Porel dismissed Desai and Sakariya in addition of just eight runs but from thereon the left-handed Vasavada seized control with Jackson in a 95-run partnership that set the tone and took their score past Bengal's 174.

Veteran Jackson gifted his wicket away after scoring his 35th fifty. He mistimed his pull off Ishan Porel to be holed out at fine leg.

But Jani came to pile on Bengal's misery with his entertaining strokeplay in their century-plus stand that virtually sealed their second Ranji triumph.

Making full use of a reprieve on 26 when Shahbaz Ahmed dropped a sitter, Jani raced to his 13th first-class half-century in 72 balls.

After the play resumed post-tea break which was extended by 20 minutes because of bad light, Jani stepped on the gas as he drove, pulled and also straight-drove one with elegance.

The conditions on day two were hazy and gloomy at Eden Gardens and reflected in the home team's camp as their pace-heavy attack failed to seize control in the first hour's play.

Akash Deep erred in line and bowled mostly on fifth and sixth stump, while star pacer Mukesh was negated well by a resolute batting by the overnight duo of wicketkeeper-batter Desai and Sakariya.

Sakariya took some blows on his body but held firm to ward off the Bengal pace attack before the conditions eased up.

Unlike day one, the pitch looked brown and there was not much help for pacers, while Akash Deep looked a shadow of his past.

Desai was the first wicket to fall when he failed to read the line as a Mukesh Kumar delivery jagged back in to trap him in front.

Porel looked the pick of the attack and bowled a superb delivery to clip Sakariya's off stump.

It was a time when Bengal could have made some more inroads with two new batters -- Jackson and Vasavada -- at crease.

But Akash Deep drifted the ball away to pads, giving freebies. Jackson and Vasavada both got off with elegant cover drives and there was no looking back.

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 lead by 143 runs.

BEN 174 & 241

SAUR 404 & 14/1

Saurashtra won by 9 wkts

Jaydev Unadkat

Arpit Vasavada
Bengal vs Saurashtra, Ranji Trophy Final Live:Bengal have lost six wickets against Saurashtra on Day 1 of the Ranji Trophy final match. Saurashtra captain Jaydev Unadkat opted to bowl first after winning the toss against Bengal in the Ranji Trophy final at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata.

Saurashtra bowlers have dominated the hosts so far. Bengal have the chance to claim their first Ranji Trophy title in 33 years as they face Saurashtra. Bengal will not just be hungry to win the title, but revenge will also be on their mind. The last time Bengal made the final in 2020, Saurashtra had won the title on the basis of first innings lead at their home turf in Rajkot

There should be an intercontinental cup. Ranji, Sheffield Shield and County.
BCCI announces India’s domestic season for 2023-24

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Tuesday announced the schedule of India’s domestic season 2023-24. The season will see a total of 1846 matches being played between the last week of June 2023 and March 2024.

The full-fledged domestic season will kickstart with the Duleep Trophy. The coveted tournament will be played from June 28, 2023 to July 16, 2023. It will be followed by the Prof. Deodhar Trophy – to be played from July 24, 2023 to August 03, 2023. Both these tournaments will be played across six zones – Central, South, North, East, West and North-East. The Irani Cup which will see Saurashtra taking on the Rest of India side will commence on October 01, 2023.

The three multi-day tournaments will be followed by Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy and Vijay Hazare Trophy. While the former will begin from October 16, 2023 and run until November 06, 2023, the latter will be played in the period of November 23, 2023 to December 15, 2023. Both the white-ball tournaments will witness 38 teams, divided into two groups of seven teams and three groups of eight teams.

One of the premier domestic cricket tournaments in the world of cricket – the Ranji Trophy – kicks off from January 05, 2024 and goes on till March 14, 2024. The 38 teams will be split into five groups, where four Elite Groups will have 8 teams each and Plate Group will comprise 6 teams. The teams in Elite Group will play 7 league-stage matches each and two teams from each group will make it to the Quarterfinals. The six teams in Plate Group will play five league-stage matches each, with the top four making it to the semi-finals.

The women’s domestic cricket season will begin with the Senior Women’s T20 Trophy, which will be played from October 19, 2023 to November 09, 2023.

It will be followed by the Senior Women’s Inter Zonal Trophy – to be played from November 24, 2023 to December 04, 2023. The 2024 will begin with the Senior Women’s One-Day Trophy, which will commence on January 04, 2024 and the final of the same will be played on January 26, 2024.