Bengal men and women''s teams reach final

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Kolkata, Jan 19 (PTI) Shedding their underdogs tag, hostsWest Bengal made it to the finals of both men''s and women''sevents in the 72nd Senior National and Inter-State TableTennis Championships at Netaji Indoor stadium here today.

West Bengal will take on the reigning champions PetroleumSports Promotion Board (PSPB) in the summit clash.

Fancied Maharashtra, who were the runners-up in themen''s team event in the last edition, had to bite the dust inboth the categories after facing a spirited fight from thehosts.

West Bengal, who began their preparation little more thantwo months ago, had finished runners-up in 1999 in Chennai,while in 1994, the last time the senior national played here,Bengal triumphed in both the sections.

Today, both the men''s as well as the women''s teams won byan identical 3-2 scoreline en route to the final.

A 3-2 scoreline might suggest otherwise, but the youngmen''s team of Sourav Saha, Souvik Kar and captain AnirbanNandi, who is the only experienced player in the side,produced the surprise of the tournament when they showed thehigher-ranked Maharashtra the door.

Down 0-1 after Saha lost to Sanil Shetty in the firstmatch, Nandi thrashed Aniket Koparkar 3-0 while Souvik Karpipped Aman Balgu to make it 2-1 in favour of the hosts.

In the other semifinal, PSPB men''s team bolstered byIndian ace Achanta Sharath Kamal whipped Tamil Nadu 3-0.

The heavyweights PSPB thus continued their dominance,making their seventh straight final in both the sections.MOREPTI TAP AMD CM

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