• Tue. Apr 16th, 2024

Bengal strike back after Shahbaz’ gritty 69 against Saurashtra

On a day when most of the Bengal batters found the going tough on a green-top pitch, Shahbaz Ahmed was a standout performer with a fighting 69 off just 112 balls.

Abishek Porel also played a handy 50-run knock as Bengal, recovering from a early slump, managed to post a respectable 174 in their first innings against Saurashtra in the Ranji Trophy final at the Eden Gardens on Thursday.

For Saurashtra, Chetan Sakariya (3-33), Jaydev Unadkat (3-44), Dharmendrasinh Jadeja (2-19) and Chirag Jani (2-33) were the pick of the bowlers.

In reply, the visitors were reduced to 81/2 at stumps on Day 1, thus trailing by 93 runs in their first innings. Akash Deep and Mukesh Kumar bagged one wicket each for Bengal.

Earlier, put into bat, the home side dealt an early blow when Saurashtra skipper Unadkat sent Abhimanyu Easwaran (0) packing in the fifth ball of the day.

Despite the early breakthrough, the visitors didn’t hold back.

In the very next over, Sakariya displayed an outstanding seam bowling dismissing debutant Sumanta Gupta (1) followed by in-form Sudip Kumar Gharami (0) in span of three balls to put the home side in trouble at 2 for 3.

Incoming senior pros Anustup Majumdar (16) and Manoj Tiwary (7) looked to steady the ship but Unadkat struck once again, getting rid of his counterpart to reduce Bengal to 17 for 4.

Anustup, who bailed the team out of trouble in multiple ocassions this season, missed out this time edging a wide delivery off the bowling of Jani to have half the team back in the hut with just 34 on the board.

Akash Ghatak also threw his wicket away after playing a 48-ball 17 to put team in a spot of bother at 65 for 6.

Thereafter, Shahbaz and Abishek kept their cool, playing sensibly to add a much-needed 101-run partnership for the seventh wicket to help team go past the 150-run mark.

Both the batters brought up their half-centuries but thereafter fell cheaply.

Akash Deep (4) and Mukesh Kumar (1) too departed as Bengal’s innings folded in the 55th over of the day.

Manoj Tiwary– Obviously, the day didn’t belong to us, but we are hoping to make a strong comeback on Day 2. The toss did play a part, but that is not in our hands. The batters found it tough in the morning and we also leaked some vital runs at the end. But tomorrow is a fresh day and we will give it all to get them out as early as possible. It’s about 8 wicket taking balls and we must ensure to not leak runs tomorrow. There’s a long way to go in this match and anything can be possible. It was fantastic innings by both Shahbaz and Abishek. Playing this sort of an innings, at this young age & that too in a final, will give Abishek a lot of confidence ahead in his career.

Source: CAB
Report- Pratyusha Mukherjee

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