Ranji Trophy: Abhimanyu ton powers Bengal to massive win

Bengal — 22 points and seventh among Groups A and B — remained in the hunt for a quarterfinal place. It will host Punjab in its last group match.

Bengal opener Abhimanyu Easwaran spearheaded a spirited chase. (File Picture)   -  v.v. subrahmanyam

Opener Abhimanyu Easwaran scored a magnificent unbeaten century to lead Bengal to a much-needed seven-wicket victory over Delhi on the concluding day of the Ranji Trophy Group B match at the Eden Gardens here on Wednesday.

Chasing 322 to win, Bengal resumed at 18 for no loss and gained massively from Abhimanyu's 211-ball 183, during which he contributed in two key hundred-plus partnerships, as the host side record its highest ever run chase.

Key highlights: Round 8, Day 4

Bengal — 22 points and seventh among Groups A and B — remained in the hunt for a quarterfinal place. It will host Punjab in its last group match.

Solid opening stand

Openers Abhimanyu and Abhishek Raman began the day on a positive note. The duo did not let the good deliveries and half-chances affect their focus. They rotated the strike and cashed in on the loose deliveries to put pressure on the Delhi fielders.

Abhishek (52 off 73, 7x4), who got a life on 22, played some fluent drives to get his fourth half-century of the season.

The 121-run opening stand ended when Abhishek threw away his wicket, caught at deep extra-cover.

Sudip Chatterjee and Manoj Tiwary departed cheaply courtesy Kulwant Khejroliya's superb bowling as Bengal lost three wickets quickly before lunch.

READ| Ranji Trophy: Abhimanyu owes form to Dravid sir ‘process’

However, Abhimanyu batted responsibly to forge an unbroken 186-run stand with Anustup Majumdar (69 not out off 122, 8x4) to thwart the visitor.

Abhimanyu exploited the Delhi bowlers' lack of discipline to cut, pull and drive confidently on both sides. Apart from 23 boundaries, he struck two lovely sixes.

Majumdar executed some good-looking shots while assisting Abhimanyu. Their effort reminded one of the 175-run partnership between the two in Jaipur last season, where Bengal had knocked out Ranji champion Gujarat in the quarterfinals.

Khejroliya's freak injury in the post-lunch session helped Bengal.

At Kolkata:

Delhi 240 & 301 lost to Bengal 220 & 323 for three in 70.2 overs (Abhishek Raman 52, Abhimanyu Easwaran 183 n.o., Anustup Majumdar 69 n.o.). Bengal 6 (22), Delhi 0 (13).