Vijay Hazare Trophy: Bengal moves into quarterfinals

Sudip Chatterjee struck 91 to help Bengal post 270.   -  Sandeep Saxena (File Photo)

Bengal pacers stifled the runs when it mattered as they stopped a valiant effort from Harpreet Singh Bhatia to beat Madhya Pradesh by 14 runs. The win secured its berth in the quarterfinals of the Vijay Hazare trophy. This is Bengal’s fifth win in as many matches and the team will top Group C with a minimum of 20 points with one game to go.

Chasing 270, Bhatia slammed 109 with nine fours and a six, and looked to take his side to victory before MP slipped in the final ten overs.

MP's chase got off to a rousing start when opener Rajat Patidar hit six boundaries of Kanishk Seth in the second over of the innings. Left-arm pacer Seth erred in line, bowling onto the pads of Patidar, who sent the first four balls between fine leg and the mid-wicket boundary. Seth then overcompensated by bowling wide outside off, as Patidar drove one through point before top-edging one over the keeper and the slips. Patidar hit his seventh consecutive four off Ashok Dinda before the latter took an excellent return catch, diving to his right to have the last laugh.

Bhatia then strung two partnerships, first with Shubham Sharma for the third wicket and Sohraab Dhaliwal for the fifth wicket as MP kept pace with the asking rate. Dhaliwal, in particular, played a vital cameo, slamming 37 off just 29 balls, a knock that included three sixes. The duo put together 69 for the fifth wicket, reducing the target from 124 from 20 overs to just 57 off the last 11.

Downhill

Pragyan Ojha struck with the first ball of the 40th over to dismiss Dhaliwal caught at long-off and from then on MP’s chase went off the rails. Over the next six overs, MP managed to score only 26 runs and lost three more wickets. Pacers Dinda, Seth and Sayan Ghosh tightened the screws as Bhatia struggled to find boundaries and could not rotate the strike properly with wickets falling around him, and he eventually perished in the penultimate over.

Earlier, a 127-run stand between skipper Manoj Tiwary and Sudip Chatterjee helped Bengal post 270. Both batsmen have been among the runs in this tournament so far and continued their good form after a shaky start for Bengal, after the openers were back in the hut by the ninth over. Tiwary’s innings depended largely on his smart play in working the field and rotating the strike while Chatterjee was more flamboyant, hitting eight fours and two sixes in his 91.

Brief scores: Bengal 270 for eight in 50 overs (Sudip Chatterjee 91, Manoj Tiwary 59, Debabrata Das 25) beat Madhya Pradesh 256 in 49 overs (Harpreet Singh Bhatia 109, Rajat Patidar 36, Sohraab Dhaliwal 37, Sayan Ghosh three for 43) by 14 runs. Points: Bengal 4 (20); Madhya Pradesh 0 (12).

Goa 211 for eight in 50 overs (Prathamesh Gawas 66, Suyash S Prabhudessai 41, Keenan Vaz 33, Darshan Misal 28 n.o.) lost to Team Rajasthan 214 for three in 40.2 overs (Dishant Yagnik 34, Manendra Singh 34, Salman Khan 61 n.o.) by seven wickets. Points : Team Rajasthan 4 (8); Goa 0 (0).

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