Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy: Shreevats guides Bengal to crucial win

Bengal overcame a middle-order collapse to keep its hopes alive in Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, after defeating Madhya Pradesh by six wickets.

Bengal stays in contention for the knock-outs after registering a crucial win against Madhya Pradesh.   -  PTI Photo

Bengal overcame a middle-order collapse to keep its hopes alive in Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, defeating Madhya Pradesh by six wickets.

At the Bandra-Kurla Complex on Friday, opener Shreevats Goswami dished out a classy unbeaten knock of 65 to ensure that there was no slip-up, after the side was reeling at 68-4, chasing a target of 113.

After suffering a last-ball defeat against Mumbai in its last outing, Bengal’s chances of qualifying for the knock-out stage suffered a blow, and it was necessary for the side to go past Madhya Pradesh to stay afloat.

After restricting Madhya Pradesh to a paltry 112 -- riding on three-wicket hauls by Akash Deep and Shahbaz Ahmed -- Bengal got off to a steady start. With Goswami and Vivek Singh looking steady, things went smoothly for Bengal, until a flurry of wickets put them under pressure. However, the seasoned Goswami held his nerves to guide the team home, with nearly five overs to spare.

Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy: Highlights

Earlier in the day, Madhya Pradesh struggled to get going as it lost wickets at regular intervals. In T20s, where steady starts are crucial, Madhya Pradesh lost three of its top batsmen for just 11 runs, making things difficult for the team.

Even though Rajat Patidar chipped in with a knock of 43, it was not enough for his team to post a competitive total. With the Bengal bowlers displaying a spirited show, there was no way Madhya Pradesh could break the barrier.

With no games scheduled on Saturday, Bengal and Madhya Pradesh will once again get into action on Sunday for the last group league outings. While Bengal plays Pondicherry next, Madhya Pradesh will be up against Haryana in its last league fixture.

With the competition for knock-out berth getting stiffer, teams have a lot to play for.

Brief scores: Madhya Pradesh 110 in 20 overs (Rajat Patidar 43; Akash Deep 3-13, Shahbad Ahmed 3-22) lost to Bengal 114-4 in 14.1 overs (Shreevats Goswami not out 65; Ishwar Pandey 2-20).