There was nothing particularly significant that Manoj Tiwary could have done. He did hammer his 20th first class century on the fifth day of the Ranji Trophy quarterfinal tie against Madhya Pradesh at the Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai. Yet his 124-run fourth innings knock made no difference to Bengal’s chase of a mammoth 788 target. Nor did it change anything with his unprecedented unsold status at Saturday’s Indian Premier League mini-auction.
Ever since the IPL’s inaugural edition back in 2008, the 30-year-old has often been a sought-after entity. In fact, his blossoming into a polished cricketer in the year preceding IPL’s inaugural on the domestic circuit worked well to build his stock in the eyes of the franchises eager to sign up fresh and promising talent for the first IPL season.
Naturally, opportunities for the national team soon started making their way towards the middle-order batsman. But that was where fortune began to evade him. Either through injury or through fluffed performances, Tiwary’s stint in the national team would end unceremoniously. Yet his demand in the cash-rich marquee tournament continued to have owners raise their paddle at auctions to acquire his services.
To be fair, he did often justify that faith with timely knocks. The most remembered, of course, was in the final of the 2012 edition when he hit the winning runs for Kolkata Knight Riders to give them their first title.
Similarly on day three against Madhya Pradesh, while franchises might still have considered last minute flashes of excellence, Tiwary had the chance to send out a timely reminder of his calibre. Instead all he could manage was being dismissed for a dismal three runs. In turn, his ton on the final day’s play came too late.
By then the auction had come and gone without teams showing much consideration for the once in-demand Bengal skipper.
He played down his failure to get selected after the game though. “I went to the dressing room and the coach told me I went unsold. That was fine with me,” he briefly stated. Yet the fact now remains that since his Bengal team lost out in the quarterfinal in Mumbai by 355 runs, Tiwary will not be playing any cricket till after the tournament where, for nine years, he was one of a regular.
Meanwhile, from Madhya Pradesh, Ishwar Pandey’s IPL hopes remained alive with his being picked for the Rising Pune Supergiants outfit. And his man-of-the-match performance against Bengal further topped his purchase.
The 26-year-old picked worked well to defend his team’s unforgiving 788-run target for Bengal, picking up four wickets in the fourth innings, taking his tally to eight in the match. The tall pacer’s scalping of Tiwary and Wriddhiman Saha had helped his side pack off Bengal for a measly 121 in the first innings.
In Bengal’s second, the seamer picked up opener Abhimanyu Easwaran early on day four. Then he followed up with the important wicket of Tiwary and brought a halt to Ashok Dinda, who scored his highest score of 52 – in all forms of the game.
Eventually he finished off the match by picking up the wicket of maiden centurion Pankaj Shaw, who was playing in only his eight first class match.
Madhya Pradesh will now face Mumbai in the semi-final at Cuttack on February 13.
Brief scores: Madhya Pradesh 348 & 560/9 decl. (Harpreet Singh Bhatia 139, Rajat Patidar 137) bt Bengal 121 & 432 all out (Manoj Tiwary 124, Pankaj Shaw 118; Ishwar Pandey 4/93, Chandrakant Sakure 3/114) by 355 runs.