Vijay Hazare Trophy: Abhimanyu’s hundred makes it easy for Bengal against Bihar

Although Bengal beat Bihar on the back of Abhimanyu's ton, Gujarat’s 14-run victory against Services ensured the Parthiv Patel-led side enter the quarters.

Abhimanyu Easwaran plays a shot. (File Photo)   -  Biswaranjan Rout

On a warm Thursday afternoon, Abhimanyu Easwaran raised his bat towards the south block at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium.

Sitting in the nearly empty stands there was his father, R.P. Easwaran, the man who built a full-fledged cricket ground in their hometown of Dehradun and named it after him.

Abhimanyu had just reached a well-deserved hundred. The Bengal captain was still there till the end, to guide his team to an easy nine-wicket win over Bihar with nearly nine overs to spare in a Vijay Hazare Trophy match.

But this fine victory has come too late in the day, though. Bengal’s hopes were dashed by Gujarat’s 14-run victory against Services, which was achieved a little later at the K.L. Saini Ground here.

So, Gujarat now joins Tamil Nadu in the quarterfinals. Remarkably, both the teams have won all their seven matches and their clash on October 16 will decide who tops Group C.

Vijay Hazare Trophy | As it Happened

On this day though, the Bengal men showed how good they could be. After restricting Bihar to 216 for seven, they romped home without any fuss whatsoever.

Their chase was led admirably by the skipper. They were off to a brisk start, with Abhimanyu (112 not out, 122b, 10x4, 1x6) and wicket-keeper Shreevats Goswami adding 52 in just 48 balls; the latter was threatening to do more when his attempt to lift seamer Shashi Shekhar over the mid-wicket fence landed safely into the hands of M.D. Rahmatullah, who had scored a fifty earlier in the day.

Now, Abhimanyu was joined by Abhishek Raman (61, 96b, 5x4) and the duo proved inseparable. They put on 165 for the unfinished second wicket, giving little chance to Bihar.

Raman dropped anchor, while Abhimanyu ensured that target was achieved with plenty to spare. The captain, who has also been impressive while playing for India A, played some sweetly-timed drives and scored at run-a-ball most of the time.

If Bihar’s batsmen could have batted a bit like that, they would have been able to put up a far more challenging total, especially after winning the toss.

True, they were rocked by the loss of the openers within the first nine balls – Sakibul Gani was caught at slip off Ishan Porel, while Shasheem Rathour was bowled by Akash Deep – but it was still a disappointing effort by the rest of the batsmen, who just did not score fast enough.

Babul Kumar (93, 124b, 9x4, 1x6) and Rahmatullah (53, 86b, 5x4, 1x6) were involved in 102-run partnership for the third wicket, but it took them 166 balls. The cameo from captain Ashutosh Aman(22, 16b) down the order wasn’t enough to undo the damage.

Brief scores

Bihar 216 for seven in 50 overs (Babul Kumar 93, M.D. Rahmatullah 53, Akash Deep three for 43) lost to Bengal 217 for one in 40.2 overs (Abhimanyu Easwaran 112 not out, Abhishek Raman 61 not out).