Syed Mushtaq Ali T20: Raina hammers ton as UP drubs Bengal

Suresh Raina’s blistering unbeaten 59-ball 126, which happened to be his best T20 score, enabled Uttar Pradesh to outmuscle Bengal by 75 runs in its opening Group B super league engagement of the Mushtaq Ali tournament at the Eden Gardens here on Monday.

Skipper Raina’s swashbuckling knock on a batting paradise propelled Uttar Pradesh to post a mammoth 235 for three after electing to bat. It also boosted his case ahead of some international limited-over assignments and the Indian Premier League (IPL).   -  K. Pichumani

Suresh Raina’s blistering unbeaten 59-ball 126, which happened to be his best T20 score, enabled Uttar Pradesh to outmuscle Bengal by 75 runs in its opening Group B super league engagement of the Mushtaq Ali tournament at the Eden Gardens here on Monday.

Skipper Raina’s swashbuckling knock on a batting paradise propelled Uttar Pradesh to post a mammoth 235 for three after electing to bat. It also boosted his case ahead of some international limited-over assignments and the Indian Premier League (IPL).

Uttar Pradesh relied on Kuldeep Yadav’s excellent four-wicket haul and sensational display of catching by its fielders to wrap up the host’s innings for 160.

Raina made light of the early loss of Samarth Singh (0) and Shivam Chaudhary (8) to launch a spellbinding assault on the Bengal bowlers, who suffered because of their choice of line and length and gifted the left-hander a much-needed confidence-building performance.

The 31-year-old began his onslaught by clubbing two fours and as many sixes on the leg side off seamer Mukesh Kumar’s second over.

Pulls, flicks and straight-batted shots on the onside dominated in Raina’s 13 hits to the fence and seven over it as he reached his half-century in 22 deliveries and century in 49. He achieved his fourth T20 hundred by placing Sayan Ghosh to square-leg for a single in the 18th over.

“It’s about your attitude and the process,” said Raina, looking forward to important forthcoming events.

Raina stood for a 163-ball partnership in 13.2 overs with right-hander Akshdeep Nath, who dazzled with seven cleanly-hit fours and fours sixes in his 43-ball 80. Uttar Pradesh, which aggregated 106 for two in 10 overs, recorded the highest ever total in the tournament.

Thanks to Shreevats Goswami’s daring 28-ball 57, containing seven fours and three sixes, Bengal gave semblance of a fight before losing the plot due to Kuldeep’s intelligent bowling.

The chinaman bowler picked up three wickets, including two in a row, in his third over and Bengal’s 11th to deflate the host’s chase. Samarth took two extraordinary catches on the ropes to remove Goswami and Pramod Chandila, while Sarfaraz Khan pouched Anustup Majumder at cover.

Later, Kuldeep scalped Sudip Chatterjee.

Punjab rode on useful contributions from opener Manan Vohra (42 off 31) and middle order batsmen Yuvraj Singh (40 off 34) and Gurkeeerat Mann (43 off 18) to chase down a stiff target of 199 set by Mumbai and ensure its second win.

Brief scores

At Jadavpur University ground:

Group A: Mumbai 198 for four in 20 overs (Shreyas Iyer not out 79, Akhil Herwadkar 42, Mayank Markande two for 32) lost to Punjab 199 for seven in 19.2 overs (Gurkeerat Mann 43, Manan Vohra 42, Yuvraj Singh 40, Shivam Dube three for 27).

Jharkhand 157 for five in 20 overs (Virat Singh 43, Ishan Kishan 39, Shahbaz Nadeem 27, Aditya Garhwal two for 15, Deepak Chahar two for 35) lost to Rajasthan 158 for six in 19.1 overs (Aditya Garhwal 43, Salman Khan 34, Varun Aaron two for 24, Jaskaran Singh two for 42).

At Eden Gardens:

Group B: Uttar Pradesh 235 for three in 20 overs (Suresh Raina not out 126, Akshdeep Nath 80) bt Bengal 160 in 16.1 overs (Shreevats Goswami 57, Sudip Chatterjee 36, Kuldeep Yadav four for 26, Mohsin Khan three for 35).

Baroda 140 for eight in 20 overs (Kedar Devdhar 77, Subodh Bhati four for 20) lost to Delhi 143 for eight in 19.1 overs (Dhruv Shorey 74, Lukman Meriwala four for 24).