Abhimanyu Easwaran

Ranji Trophy: Himachal force Bengal to a draw

[caption id="attachment_57405" align="aligncenter" width="580"]IMG_8886 Bengal gets three points due to their first innings lead against Himachal Pradesh. Image Source: XtraTime[/caption]

Kolkata: Manoj Tiwary led Bengal cricket team failed to capitalize on the chances as the hosts played out a draw with Himachal Pradesh in a Ranji Trophy encounter of Group D at the Eden Gardens today. Himachal Pradesh batsmen batted really well in the second innings after Bengal skipper Manoj Tiwary decided to enforce follow-on.

They scored 353 runs in the second innings before getting all-out. Indian cricket team’s pace spearhead Mohammed Shami picked 5 wickets for his side. The hosts needed 141 runs to win the match in the final session with ten wickets in hand. Bengal faced a huge blow at the start of their second innings as the centurion of the first innings Abhishek Raman fell for a duck on the very first delivery.  Star left-hand batsman Sudip Chatterjee got out on just 6 runs. Skipper Manoj Tiwary too returned to the pavilion after scoring just 2 runs.  In-form Rishi Dhawan took Shreevats Goswami (11) to complete his four-wicket haul.

Bengal’s star wicket-keeper batsman Wriddhiman Saha (34) tried his best to take his side over the line along with Abhimanyu Easwaran but the umpires decided to stop the game due to poor light and Bengal had to be happy with 3 points as they had the lead in the first innings.

Punjab now lead the group D table with 15 points while Vidarbha with 14 are currently second. Bengal, who were second, had a definite chance to take the lead but the draw meant they slipped to third place with 13 points. Bengal will play three more matches against Punjab, Vidarbha and Goa. Earlier, resuming on 207/2 after being followed-on in their second essay, Himachal were shown the way by youngster Khanduri, who batted for six hours 36 minutes in his second successive half-century of the match.

Overnight duo of Khanduri and Gangta stood to their tasks with respective halfcenturies in a 93-run third wicket partnership as Himachal trailed past Bengal. Gangta scored his 50 off 74 balls while the opener Khanduri looked solid as the home team's pace trio of Shami, Dinda and Mukesh toiled hard for the first breakthrough. It was in the seventh over of the day, Shami gave the
opening in the form of Gangta who took an inside edge behind the stumps.

Playing only his fourth first-class match, Khanduri, who has a century against Goa, however could not make a second triple figure after Bengal took the second new-ball in the 80th over.

Khanduri edged one to wicketkeeper Saha behind his legs off the bowling Dinda who also dismissed Paras Dogra (6) while Shami made it 300/7 with the wicket of Amit Kumar (14). But before Shami and Dinda could make further inroads, Dhawan and Sharma turned the tide for Bengal in their 38-run partnership for the eighth wicket. Sharma (1) took 29 balls to open his account and ate up
39 balls in his 92 minutes stay at the crease, a partnership that frustrated Bengal who by then started losing hope for an outright win that could have pushed them to the top of the group D table. Only top two teams will qualify from each group to the knock-out stages and this draw might put Bengal in trouble in future.

Brief Scores

In Kolkata: Bengal 419 and 65/4; 15 overs.

Himachal Pradesh 206 and f/o 353; 115 overs, (Priyanshu Khanduri 95, Prashant Chopra 81, Nikhil Gangta 57, Rishi Dhawan 51 not out; Mohammed Shami 5/109, Ashok Dinda 3/74). Match drawn. Bengal 3 points. Himachal 1.

In Nagpur: Vidarbha 385 and 223/6 declared; 44 overs (Akshay Karnewar 48, Faiz Fazal 46, Sanjay Ramaswamy 42).

Services 317 and 99; 28.1 overs (Akshay Wakhare 5/16, Karn Sharma 3/42). Vidarbha won by 192 runs. Vidarbha 6 points. Services 0.

 

In Raipur: Chhattisgarh 238 and 297; 102.4 overs (Ashutosh Singh 119, Vishal Kushwah 45; Sandeep Sharma 4/89, Barinder Sran 3/65).

Punjab 653/9 declared. Punjab won by an innings and 118 runs. Punjab 7 points. Chhattisgarh 0.

 

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