Ranji Trophy Semifinal: Meghalaya set massive target to beat Bihar

Shillong, Jan 19: Meghalaya will go into the fourth day of their Ranji Trophy Plate Group semifinal against Bihar requiring a further 436 runs to win.

Bihar were bowled out in their second innings for 164 at the MCA Ground here today, with guest professional Rajesh Bishnoi taking 6/30 for Meghalaya; these are his new best first-class figures. With their 294-run lead from the first innings, Bihar thus set the hosts a mighty target of 459 to win. At stumps, Meghalaya had reached 23/1.

Resuming play on 28 for no loss, Bihar added a further 30 runs before three wickets fell in the space of seven deliveries. The first was taken by pacer Akash K Choudhury (3/34) and, in the next over, Bishnoi removed Sachin Kumar Singh and first innings centurion Bipin Saurabh cheaply.

That was the last bit of success for Meghalaya until Bishnoi had Babul Kumar (51) caught at silly point by Tarique Siddique off the first ball after lunch.

The left-arm spinner was extremely difficult to score off, conceding just 30 runs in 25 overs, 16 of which were maidens. His previous best figures were 6/60, also against Bihar, which was accomplished only last month.

Swarajeet Das (1/25) bagged one wicket thanks to a sharp catch by Kishan Lyngdoh in the slip cordon and Das was on catching duty himself later on.

Choudhury bowled short and tailender Nawaz presented Das with a chance but the latter put it down. This did not cost Meghalaya much, however, as the Bihar batter was dismissed in the same over after gloving a ball to stand-in wicketkeeper Rohit Shah.

Das was later able to make amends for the dropped catch when he put in a brilliant effort to dismiss Shivam Kumar; a targeted short ball saw the No. 9 edge it up and over Das’s right shoulder, which necessitated a dive to grab the ball in the air.

With Bihar all out for 164, the players took tea and that left Meghalaya facing a few uncomfortable overs in the gathering gloom as the sun began to set. Raj Biswa and Kishan Lyngdoh (9) almost saw out the day but the latter chopped the ball onto his stumps at the end of the ninth over.

Shah then came in and was yet to get off the mark by the time bad light halted play. At the other end, Biswa was unbeaten on 13.