Captain Rahul Tripathi's maiden List A hundred guided Maharashtra to a convincing seven-wicket win over Bengal in its opening Group B Vijay Hazare Trophy one-day match at the A. B. Vajpayee Stadium here on Monday.
Tripathi's magnificent 102–ball 125, containing 12 fours and four sixes, overshadowed Abhimanyu Easwaran's century, which had enabled Bengal to post a formidable total of 293 for nine after being asked to bat first.
Maharashtra overhauled the target with plenty to spare.
Tripathi enjoyed his new responsibility as he formed partnerships worth 80, 42 and 107 with Ruturaj Gaikwad (77 off 70 balls), Ankit Bawne (22 off 25) and Naushad Shaikh (39 not out off 32) respectively following a sound 65-run platform laid by openers Gaikwad and Vijay Zol (24).
When Gaikwad was in full flow, cutting and pulling the Bengal pacers spectacularly, Tripathi provided him support. After the fall of Gaikwad, who was run out due to a terrible mix-up, the Maharashtra skipper maintained his composure. He had a good rapport with his partners while running aggressively between wickets.
Tripathi also unleashed some entertaining strokes, predominantly on the onside, to switch gear at the right time as Bengal bowlers struggled with their line and length. “Whatever responsibility I get, I try to give my best. Here spending time was important in order to reach the target,” said Tripathi.
Bengal's below par ground fielding also made Maharastra's chase easier.
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Abhimanyu's show of application in the morning boosted Bengal. The technically sound opener relished his timing and placement to rotate the strike apart from gathering good looking boundaries on both sides. He added 43 with Shreevats Goswami (18), 91 with Vivek Singh (31) and 59 with Manoj Tiwary (80 not out) to set the stage for Bengal to go for a big total.
Abhimanyu (103 off 114, 12x4) stepped out to hit left-arm spinner Satyajit Bacchav to midwicket for a four and get his third List A century. He was bowled while trying to cut the next delivery. Maharashtra bowlers kept it tight in the slog overs to deny Bengal a 300-plus aggregate.
At Bilaspur, Unmukt Chand's valiant hundred (116 off 125, 12x4, 3x6) enabled Delhi to beat Uttar Pradesh by 55 runs.
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With broken jaws, Unmukt stood for four solid partnerships – 107 with fellow opener Hiten Dalal (57), 53 with Dhruv Shorey (31), 67 with Nitish Rana (31) and 36 with Rishabh Pant (28) – as Delhi registered 307 for six.
“It is an important hundred because it has come at a time when I needed it the most. I enjoyed batting and getting my confidence back. I have gone through a tough time this season. It feels nice to have contributed to a winning cause,” said Unmukt.