Vijay Hazare: Bengal clinches a four-wicket win

Chasing a modest total of 226, Bengal was stretched by a disciplined Andhra bowling attack but valiant knocks from Shreevats Goswami and Anustup Majumdar helped it reach the target with seven balls to spare.

Shreevats Goswami scored a sedate half-century in Bengal’s narrow win over Andhra.   -  Ritu Raj Konwar

Bengal prevailed over Andhra by four wickets in a close encounter in a group C Vijay Hazare match at the IC-Guru Nanak College grounds here on Saturday.

Chasing a modest total of 226, Bengal was stretched by a disciplined Andhra bowling attack but valiant knocks from Shreevats Goswami and Anustup Majumdar helped it reach the target with seven balls to spare.

Goswami and fellow opener Abhimanyu Easwaran set the platform for Bengal with a 63-run stand with the latter making 33 of 34 balls before being run out.

Goswami then joined hands with skipper Manoj Tiwary and added 67 runs. The Andhra bowlers, especially leg-spinner Swaroop Kumar, made Bengal work hard for every run by bowling tight lines on a slow wicket.

Andhra sniffed a chance when two quick wickets fell; first Goswami, run out after a mix up with Tiwary and then the skipper himself caught in the deep, with the score reading 167 for four in the 38th over.

However, Majumdar played a sensible knock adding 43 runs with Pankaj Kumar Shaw before two wickets fell in the 48th over. With 14 required of the last two, Majumdar, who till then had just one boundary, cut loose, hitting B. Ayyappa for a six over long on, followed by two fours on the leg side to take Bengal home.

Earlier, Andhra laboured to 225 for eight thanks to a late charge from the lower order after the top order struggled against the Bengal attack.

Electing to bat, Andhra never got going in the power play overs as Bengal pacers Ashoke Dinda and Ishan Porel kept it tight.

In the first ten overs, Andhra managed only 31 for one with Porel dismissing D. B. Prasanth Kumar, caught at slip.

Pragyan Ojha and leg-spinner Majumder backed up the pacers as the duo quickly scalped two wickets each to reduce Andhra to 103 for five by the 32nd over.

D. B. Ravi Teja and Siva Kumar then steadied things with a 59-run stand for the sixth wicket off 63 balls.

While Ravi Teja made 43, most of it through singles and doubles with just two boundaries, Siva Kumar was more aggressive making a 32-ball 40 with three sixes and two fours.

Bengal pegged back with three quick wickets before D. Swaroop Kumar and B. Ayyappa played crucial cameos with an unbeaten 55-run stand for the ninth wicket off just 35 balls.

Brief score: Andhra 225 for eight in 50 overs (D.B. Ravi Teja 43, D. Siva Kumar 40, D. Swaroop Kumar 30, B Ayyappa 25) lost to Bengal 226 for six in 48.5 overs (Shreevats Goswami 66, Anustup Majumdar 46 n.o., Manoj Tiwary 38, Abhimanyu Easwaran 33). Points: Bengal 4; Andhra 0.