Vijay Hazare Trophy: Bengal posts two-wicket win over Rajasthan

Sudip Chatterjee scored an unbeaten 85 to steer Bengal to victory.   -  Sandeep Saxena

Brilliant half-centuries from Abhimanyu Easwaran and Sudip Chatterjee neutered Dishant Yagnik’s century for Rajasthan as Bengal posted a two-wicket win to top the Group C table in the Vijay Hazare Trophy match on Wednesday.

Chasing 275 after putting in Rajasthan, opener Abhimanyu and Shreevats Goswami went after the attack right from the start, finding boundaries at will. The duo shared a 109-run partnership for the opening wicket off just 92 balls before Goswami was dismissed.

The stylish Abhimanyu played some delightful shots with some copybook straight drives and square cuts. In one over of Pankaj Singh, he cleared the third man boundary with a stylish uppercut before following it up with a four down the ground. Abhimanyu was dismissed for 79 off just 77 balls, caught behind trying to cut leg-spinner Rahul Chahar.

The experienced Sudip Chatterjee then took control of the chase as he kept nudging around before launching a serious attack on the Rajasthan bowlers towards the end of the innings even as Bengal kept losing wickets at the other end.

After 38 overs, Bengal needed 69 runs with five wickets in hand when Chatterjee went on the offensive. In the next five overs, Bengal scored at more than seven runs per over with Chatterjee doing the bulk of scoring. Kanishk Seth added three boundaries before Chatterjee saw through the chase, remaining unbeaten on 85.

Earlier, Rajasthan opener Yagnik set the tone by smashing 100 of 137 balls in a knock that included 12 fours and six. The left-hander started off confidently against the Bengal pacers Ashok Dinda and Kanishk Seth, hitting them for boundaries whenever they strayed onto his pads. Once the spinners were brought in, Yagnik was in his groove and did not mind going against the turn to Pankaj Shaw and Pragyan Ojha, hitting them through covers confidently.

Yagnik was ably supported by Salman Khan and Puneet Yadav, adding 71 and 73 runs for the second and third wicket respectively. The left-hander though slowed down once into his 90s and took 17 balls to close out the last 10 runs before he was dismissed. Rajasthan then had a short collapse from 184 for three to 216 for six before T.N. Dhillon played a cameo of 37 from 11 balls to take his side past 250.