Bengal rode on a classy showing with the ball by Pradipta Pramanik and fine batting by glovesman Vivek Singh to decimate Assam in its Elite Group ‘C’ Vijay Hazare Trophy clash at the M. A. Chidambaram Stadium, here, on Friday, winning by five wickets with more than 24 overs to spare.
After Bengal won the toss and chose to field first, Pramanik claimed four wickets, including that of the opener and top-scorer Riyan Parag (32 runs, 50 balls, 4x4), to restrict Assam to a paltry 150 in 35.5 overs. Opening the Bengal innings, Singh treated the Assam bowlers with disdain as he hammered his way to 51 off 51 balls (4x4, 4x6) before giving away his wicket to Mukhtar Hussain.
Bengal started off its innings in a manner that Assam wouldn’t have wanted as Abhimanyu Easwaran’s skilful cut sent the ball racing through point for a boundary in the very second ball of the innings. Consecutive boundaries by Singh, Easwaran’s opening partner, in the third over followed by two consecutive sixes over long off and long on in the very next over spelt doom for Assam, as the openers raced to a 48-run partnership in 6.1 overs.
Mrinmoy Dutta offered hope to Assam as he castled Easwaran for 18 (19 balls) right after the batsman had used his pace to send the ball towards third man for a four. Nagaon southpaw Dutta pocketed two more wickets in no time, playing with the batsmen’s minds as Assam slowed the opposing batsmen.
As it happened: Vijay Hazare Trophy 2018-19
Runs came mostly in singles and doubles till the 15th over as the boundaries dried up. The slow spell then was broken by Singh, who bludgeoned Dutta over the long-off boundary for a six and reached his half-century off 45 balls an over and a half later. The celebrations were short-lived as Parag, after a fumble, held on to the ball even as he lost his balance.
New man Kanishk Seth and Anustup Majumdar could only add nine more runs to take the total to 111 in 19.5 overs when Majumdar nicked to keeper Abhishek Thakuri as Bengal lost its fifth wicket. Shahbaz Ahmed then joined Seth at the crease as Bengal cantered thereon to victory.
Earlier, Assam, which had entered the match having lost its previous five against Bengal in the Vijay Hazare Trophy, had never looked to be in control as wickets kept tumbling at both ends, a dismal flashback to Thursday’s match against Tamil Nadu, where it had also lost wickets three through seven for 21 runs.
Meanwhile, the heat got to Ashoke Dinda, Bengal’s customary man with the new ball who was finding a hint of swing, and he walked back to the pavilion in discomfort after just bowling 22 deliveries.
Brief scores: Assam 150 in 35.3 overs (Riyan Parag 32; Pradipta Pramanik 4 for 27) lost to Bengal 151 for 5 in 25.4 overs (Vivek Singh 51; Mrinmoy Dutta 3 for 46) by five wickets.
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