Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy: Easwaran century flattens Mizoram

Abhimanyu Easwaran scored a century as Bengal thrashed Mizoram by 159 runs while in another match Odisha lost to Chhattisgarh by 10 wickets.

Bengal's Abhimanyu Easwaran after notching up his century against Mizoram at the Barabati Stadium in Cuttack.   -  Biswaranjan Rout

A brilliant century from Abhimanyu Easwaran was the centrepiece as Bengal thrashed Mizoram by 159 runs in a Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 match at the Barabati stadium here on Thursday.

Chasing a mammoth target of 222, Mizoram was in trouble from the start as it lost both its openers cheaply. Seamers Ashoke Dinda and Kanishk Seth set the tone up front with leg-spinner Prayas Ray Barman running through the middle order on the back of a four-wicket haul as Mizoram succumbed to a humbling defeat.

Earlier, Vivek Singh (28, 12b, 3x4, 2x6) got Bengal off to a flying start after Taruwar Kohli won the toss and chose to field. Singh ensured he did not squander the reprieve early in his innings -- he was dropped off Lalhruai Ralte in the first over -- hammering three towering sixes and two boundaries en route to an 11-ball 28.

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Ralte had his revenge in the third over when he had Singh caught at mid-on. That didn't stem the flow as Abhimanyu Easwaran (107 n.o., 56b, 8x4, 5x6) and Shreevats Goswami (55, 33b, 6x4, 1x6) paired up and took Mizoram to the cleaners. Kohli desperately rotated his bowlers -- six players rolled their arms in the first 10 -- but to no avail.

The wheels came off Mizoram's bowling as back-of-a-length deliveries at military medium pace sat up nicely for the two batsmen to deliver an exhibition in power hitting.

They galloped to their half-centuries, racking up a 119-run stand for the second wicket before Goswami finally holed out to Parvez in the deep. But Easwaran continued to plunder, batting like a man possessed as he notched up 107 off 56 balls to catapult Bengal to a massive 221/4.

Chhattisgarh rolls over Odisha

Chhattisgarh got its Syed Mushtaq campaign off to a winning start after its openers put on a pyrotechnic display at the same venue to guide it to an emphatic 10-wicket victory over Odisha.

Set 138 to win, Rishabh Tiwari and Shashank Chandrakar both struck rapid half-centuries to make light work of the chase. Tiwary hammered six fours and two sixes during his entertaining 55-ball 71 while Chandrakar, at the other end, took on spinners and seamers in equal measure as the visitor razed down the target with less than four overs to spare.

Earlier, Chhattisgarh quicks vindicated Harpreet Bhatias' decision to insert Odisha in to bat by reducing the host side to 39/4 inside the first six overs. Openers Sandeep Pattanaik and Anurag Sarangi showed intent but Sarangi's dismissal off Pankaj Rao's bowling triggered a collapse which saw Odisha lose seven wickets for 56 runs. Aishwary Marya was the pick of the seamers, returning figures of three for 20

Skipper Subhransu Senapati provided some resistance with a resilient fifty. His 37-ball 51 coupled with Rajesh Mohanty's enterprising cameo of 36 off 24 deliveries gave Odisha a sliver of hope but couldn't prevent the team from folding for a modest 137.

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