Ranji Trophy: Bengal thrashes Punjab by 115 runs

Debutant Amit Kuila who bagged eight wickets was adjudged the ‘man of the match’. Not chasing a target of 360 for the most part, Punjab stuttered to defeat after being up 100 for no loss thanks to the fine batting of Manan Vohra and Jeewanjot Singh.

Bengal collected six points for the outright victory.   -  PTI

It was entertainment of first class cricket at its pure best, as the sparse gathering of local spectators enjoyed the big hitting of Mahendra Singh Goni, and a thrilling climax when Bengal beat Punjab by 115 runs in the Ranji Trophy league match at the picturesque Luhnu ground on Sunday.

Not chasing a target of 360 for the most part, Punjab stuttered to defeat after being up 100 for no loss thanks to the fine batting of Manan Vohra and Jeewanjot Singh. However, with captain Yuvraj Singh dragging one on to his stumps off left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha who surprised with a four-wicket haul, the match came alive.

Punjab only managed to tease Bengal till the end, despite a flurry of sixes and fours by Goni, as it was first reduced to 162 for seven and then the last wicket pair batted for long, for a 55-run partnership.

However, with the sun all set to dip behind the mountains, Mahendra Singh Goni’s brave cameo ended as he edged Ayan Bhattacharjee to the wicket-keeper Shreevats Goswami who had a memorable match.

Bengal looked to have got its calculation wrong earlier in the day when it resumed its innings and managed to add 44 runs, losing five wickets to the juicy conditions, which Siddarth Kaul capitalised to bag six wickets.

After having laboured to a precious first innings lead, Bengal was probably unwilling to gamble but it almost paid the price for not taking the chance in favourable conditions.

Punjab looked to dictate the flow, but long spells of inaction caused its doom, and the late fireworks by Goni who struck three sixes and five 4s in his 35-ball entertainment, proved inadequate either to steer the team to victory or play out a draw.

Even though he learnt a few lessons by being clubbed around the park, debutant Amit Kuila who bagged eight wickets was adjudged the ‘man of the match’.

Bengal collected six points for the outright victory. It was the second decisive match at the ground after Tamil Nadu had beaten Railways last week.

For the slow over rate, Punjab had to pay a heavy penalty as its captain Yuvraj Singh was docked 80 per cent of match fee, and his team mates were fined 40 per cent of their match fee.

The over rate was so slow that the referee Sunil Chaturvedi could not start the mandatory over on the last even at 5 p.m.

For more updates, follow Sportstar on :