Seamlessly juggling politics and cricket, Manoj Tiwary on Friday (June 10) achieved what no one else did in 88 years of Ranji Trophy: score a hundred while being a sitting minister in a state government.
Without an iota of doubt, Tiwary’s 136 was the highlight of an inconsequential fifth day’s play as Bengal advanced to the semi-finals of the Ranji Trophy on the basis of its massive first-innings lead.
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In between signing files related to his constituency, Tiwary, a sitting minister of sports and youth affairs in the Mamata Banerjee-led West Bengal government, struck 19 fours and two sixes.
The 36-year-old veteran also scored 73 in Bengal’s first essay.
There were notable contributions once again from other Bengal batters such as Shahbaz Ahmed (46), Anustup Majumdar (38) and Abhishek Porel (34). It is worth recalling that Ahmad, Majumdar and Porel all scored big in Bengal’s first innings too.
Throughout the quarter-final game, which looked one-sided from the onset, with Bengal posting a mammoth 773/7 in its first innings with all their top nine batters hitting at least a half-century, smashing a 250-year-old record in first-class cricket.
The only consolation for Jharkhand was that Shahbaz Nadeem bagged 5/59.
Like Nadeem with the ball, it was Virat Singh who shone with the bat for Jharkhand, scoring an unbeaten 136 in the first innings.
Bengal will take on Madhya Pradesh in the semi-final and have a shot at qualifying for back-to-back Ranji Trophy finals. Mumbai and Uttar Pradesh will face off in the other semi-final. Both matches will kick off in Bengaluru on June 14.
Bengal: 1st Innings: 773/7 declared (Sudip Kumar Gharami 186, Anustup Majumdar, 117, Shahbaz Ahmed 78, Manoj Tiwary 73; Sushant Mishra 3/140, Shahbaz Nadeem 2/175)
Jharkhand: 1st innings: 298 all out (Virat Singh 113 not out, Nazim Siddiqui 53; Shahbaz Ahmad 4/51, Sayan Mondal 4/71)
Bengal: second innings: 318/7 (Manoj Tiwary 136 not out, Shahbaz Ahmed 46, Anustup Majumdar 38; Shahbaz Nadeem 5/59).