Ranji Trophy Semifinal: Bihar tighten the screws against Meghalaya

Shillong, Jan 18: Meghalaya have it all to do after the hosts conceded a 294-run first innings lead to Bihar on the second day of their Ranji Trophy Plate Group semifinal at the MCA Ground here today.

Resuming their first innings on 329/6, Bihar were all out for 428 and then dismissed Meghalaya for a mere 134. By stumps, Bihar were 28 for no loss in their second innings, leading by 322.

The visitors frustrated Meghalaya thanks to the tailenders who batted until just after lunch.

Swarajeet Das (1/5) picked up the wicket of Veer Pratap Singh (50) in the first over after he was introduced into the attack with a ball that nipped back in and trapped the batter lbw. Kishan Lyngdoh played his part too by foiling an attempt to steal a quick single by throwing down the stumps for a direct run out. The other Bihar wickets to fall today were claimed by Akash K Choudhury (2/83) and guest professional Rajesh Bishnoi (1/113). Arbin Singh (3/103) and Abhishek Kumar (2/89) were unable to add to their tally of wickets from yesterday.

Up against a huge total, Meghalaya struggled against the pace bowling of Bihar, with the first four batters falling to edges.

Raj Biswa (3) and Das (0) were both dismissed in the fourth over by Nawaz (2/31) before Lyngdoh and guest professional Punit Bisht put on 57 for the third wicket when it appeared that Meghalaya had gotten a grip on the conditions.

However, Lyngdoh was dismissed for 32 after an entertaining innings full of promise and Rohit Shah’s debut first-class innings ended for 9 after he was caught by diving wicketkeeper Bipin Saurabh, who was Bihar’s hero with the bat yesterday.

Bisht also edged a delivery but he was reprieved as he was dropped at fourth slip, though he was eventually bowled by Ashutosh Aman (4/21) for 38.

Bishnoi (40 not out) tried to keep going but he eventually ran out of partners – Tarique Siddique (4) lbw after not playing a shot, Choudhury (4) bowled while trying to slog, Arbin Singh (0) bowled and Kumar (0) caught at slip.

Although he was also dismissed without scoring, credit has to go to Dippu Ch Sangma, who hobbled out to the middle. He suffered an injury yesterday after landing heavily following an unsuccessful attempt at a catch but still tried to bat for his team today.

Bihar will try to thoroughly bat Meghalaya out of the game tomorrow in order to seal their place in the Plate Group final. The hosts, meanwhile, will need to put on an absolutely stunning bowling display tomorrow if they are to rescue this match from the jaws of defeat.

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