Putting mind over matter, Anustup Majumdar and Sudip Chatterjee played pivotal roles in Bengal’s dramatic four-wicket victory over Maharashtra that took the team to the semifinals of the Vijay Hazare Trophy here. The gritty Bengal side chased down an intimidating target of 319 in the final over. The effort was rewarded with a place in Thursday’s clash against M. S. Dhoni-led Jharkhand here.
For the record, this was the highest chase at the Feroz Shah Kotla ground, surpassing Mumbai's effort in the 2007 edition of the competition. Mumbai had scored 301 for four in its chase of Delhi's 297 for five.
After Maharashtra scored 318 for six in 50 overs, made possible by Rahul Tripathi’s counter-attacking 74-ball 95 and Nikhil Naik’s 52-ball 63, Bengal stayed on target despite losing an early wicket. At one stage, Maharashtra appeared to have regained some control when skipper Kedar Jadhav won leg-before decisions to send back the well-set duo of opener Shreevats Goswami and skipper Manoj Tiwari. These setbacks left Bengal worried at 187 for four in 32.5 overs.
But once Majumdar (66 off 59 deliveries) joined Chatterjee (60 not out off 50 deliveries), Bengal quickly moved to cruise mode. Their 117-run fifth-wicket stand off 96 deliveries turned the match on its head and brought Bengal on the threshold of victory. Though Majumdar and new-man Kanishk Seth fell in the closing overs, Aamir Gani did not let Chatterjee down and struck the winning boundary with a delivery to spare.
Earlier, Maharashtra lifted itself from a slow start following some aggressive batting in the second half of the innings. If the first 25 overs fetched 108 runs, for three wickets, the final 25 overs resulted in 210 runs, with the last 10 overs producing 109 runs. Maharashtra’s rally revolved around Tripathi’s 116-run fifth-wicket stand with Naik. But it was eventually eclipsed by Bengal’s fifth-wicket stand.
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