Vijay Hazare Trophy: Tiwary ton ends Himachal's campaign

Himachal Pradesh lost the must-win Group B match against Bengal on Saturday and is out of the race for a slot in the quarterfinals.

Manoj Tiwary (left) and Alok Pratap Singh after Bengal's victory over Himachal.   -  Y. B. Sarangi

Himachal Pradesh lost the must-win Group B match against Bengal on Saturday and is out of the race for a slot in the quarterfinals of the Vijay Hazare Trophy.

Electing to bat, Himachal were put on the backfoot by young Bengal pacer Alok Pratap Singh at the start of the innings, but consolidated to put up 266 for eight at the end.

In reply, Bengal rode on its captain Manoj Tiwary's unbeaten century and opener Abhimanyu Easwaran's half-century to record a confidence-boosting six-wicket win at the HPCA Stadium.

Himachal's defeat facilitated Delhi's qualification with 16 points. The host settled for 14.

Meanwhile, in a fog-affected 37-a-side affair at Bilaspur, Maharashtra outsmarted Kerala (14 points) by 98 runs to collect 18 points and make it to the last eight as the group topper.

It was Pratap's discipline and subtle movement off the track that set the platform for Bengal. He breached the defence of Prashant Chopra and had Amit Kumar caught behind down the leg. He also bagged Nikhil Gangta's wicket as Vivek Singh dived forward to take a lovely catch at point.

From 22 for three in the ninth over, opener Priyanshu Khanduri (74 off 106 balls, 7x4, 1x6) and Ankush Bains (32 off 60, 4x4) stitched together 84 runs to revive the Himachal innings.

Khanduri batted confidently and drove the ball nicely while putting up another 60-run partnership with Ankit Kaushik (43 not out off 63, 3x4, 1x6) after the fall of Bains, who was pouched at mid-wicket off Tiwary.

Khanduri was bowled while trying to play left-arm spinner Pradipta Pramanik on the leg side. Himachal lost three more wickets as Bengal bowlers kept it tight. Pankaj Jaswal's cameo, 62 not out off 24 balls including one four and eight sixes, assisted the host to plunder 80 runs in 5.5 overs even as Pratap returned to claim one more wicket.

Abhimanyu (90 off 109, 10x4) batted with determination to forge a 50-run stand with Vivek (27 off 32) and a decisive 131-run association with Tiwary (104 off 107, 10x4, 2x6) to belittle Himachal's challenge.

Himachal bowlers tried too much and proved expensive, while its fielders leaked runs through overthrows and made things easier for the Bengal batsmen.

The scores
  • At Dharamsala: Himachal Pradesh 266 for eight in 50 overs (Priyanshu Khanduri 74, Pankaj Jaswal 62 not out, Ankit Kaushik 43 not out, Alok Pratap Singh four for 53) lost to Bengal 268 for four in 48 overs (Manoj Tiwary 104 not out, Abhimanyu Easwaran 90) by six wickets.
  • At Amtar: Uttar Pradesh 357 for eight in 50 overs (Rinku Singh 91 not out, Akshdeep Nath 87, Aryan Juyal 69, Shubham Agarwal 44) bt Tripura 296 for nine in 50 overs (Yashpal Singh 110, J.R. Banik 50, Saurabh Kumar three for 52) by 61 runs.
  • At Bilaspur (37 overs per side): Maharashtra 273 for eight in 37 overs (Naushad Shaikh 76, Ankit Bawne 41) bt Kerala 175 in 29.2 overs (Sanju Samson 46, Shrikant Mundhe five for 26) by 98 runs.