Vijay Hazare Trophy: Bengal thrashes Mumbai by 96 runs

Overcoming early setbacks, Bengal rode on opener Abhimanyu Easwaran’s 127 to reach 230. Then, the Bengal bowlers were all over the Mumbai batsmen on a Chepauk surface offering some seam movement and a bit of turn.

Abhimanyu Easwaran handled both pace and spin with confidence.   -  PTI

Mumbai’s capitulation was meek. The batting, without a semblance of pride, was bereft of character. Bengal, ruthless, cashed in.

Overcoming early setbacks, Bengal rode on opener Abhimanyu Easwaran’s well constructed 127 (152b, 8x4, 2x6) to reach 230. Then, the Bengal bowlers were all over the Mumbai batsmen on a Chepauk surface offering some seam movement and a bit of turn.

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Eventually, Mumbai was dismissed for 134 in the 37th over, suffering its second straight defeat in the Vijay Hazare one-day competition here on Friday. The side’s chances of qualifying for the quarterfinals hang by a thread.  

The in-form Bengal, recording its fourth straight win, is now almost assured of making it to the next stage.   

After the lively Ashoke Dinda and the impressive left-armer Kanishk Seth – he got the ball to straighten – jolted Mumbai early, left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha bowled beautifully.

Operating with an easy, high-arm action, he got the ball to hang in the air, and achieved drift and turn. He rocked back a tad in his delivery stride to get more body into his action.

In an influential spell, he took out Aditya Tare, who missed a flick to be trapped in front. Then Ojha foxed the free-stroking Shreyas Iyer (34) in the air to have the batsman stumped. And Abhishek Nayar’s attempt to strike Ojha out of the arena ended in long-off’s hands. Soon, it was all over for Mumbai.

In the morning, Easwaran impressed with an innings of judicious strokeplay and composure after Bengal elected to bat. Even as wickets fell around him, the opener guided the innings through choppy waters.

A lot about Easwaran is pleasing. He is a lithe, elegant batsman who gets into good positions. Someone who is as fluent with his cover-drives as he is with flicks, the young batsman handled both pace and spin with confidence.

Whatever be the form of bowling, Easwaran’s batsmanship was dictated by the length of the ball. His innings was not about shot-making. He rotated the strike, worked the ball around for singles and twos, strung together useful partnerships.

When skipper Manoj Tiwary was caught behind off a Shivam Malhotra outswinger for just 11, Bengal was 46 for three. Then, Easwaran assumed centre-stage.

For Mumbai, Thakur bowled well, altering his speeds, taking the ball away consistently and delivering toe-crushers at the end. He scalped four. Nayar made an impression too with his variations.

But then, the Mumbai batsmen came up woefully short.

The scores: Bengal 230 for in 48.5 overs (Abhimanyu Easwaran 127, Shardul Thakur four for 47, Abhishek Nayar three for 35) beat Mumbai 134 in 36.2 overs (Shreyas Iyer 34, Sayan Ghosh three for 48, Pragyan Ojha three for 28). Bengal 4 (16), Mumbai 0 (8).

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