Vijay Hazare Trophy: Kaif, Majumdar shine in Bengal's opening win

Kaif Ahmed and captain Anustup Majumdar scored excellent half-centuries as Bengal outplayed Services by 70 runs in its opening Group E match of the Vijay Hazare Trophy

Anustup Majumdar plays a shot during Bengal's match against Services.   -  Special Arrangement

Young Kaif Ahmed and captain Anustup Majumdar scored excellent half-centuries as Bengal outplayed Services by 70 runs in its opening Group E match of the Vijay Hazare Trophy one-day tournament at the Eden Gardens here on Sunday.

Put in to bat, Bengal registered 315 for six on a batsman-friendly track. In reply, Services managed 245 for nine.

Openers Shreevats Goswami (28, 55b, 4x4) and Vivek Singh (39, 47b, 6x4) gathered 71 runs to give the host a solid start.

Majumdar (58, 61b, 6x4, 1x6), who played some delectable shots on the onside, and Abhimanyu Easwaran (39, 49b, 3x4), who returned after warming the bench in the Mushtaq Ali Trophy, rotated the strike well to collect 92 runs.

Vijay Hazare Trophy: Shaw, bowlers set up Mumbai's win over Delhi  

Following Majumdar’s dismissal, lbw off Varun Choudhary in 34th over, Kaif (75, 53b, 11x4, 2x6) showcased his fine array of strokes on both sides to get his second List-A half-century. He gathered 41, 42 and 42 runs with Abhimanyu, Shahbaz Ahmed (25) and Writtick Chatterjee (20 n.o.) respectively.

Bengal gained a decisive edge by plundering 68 runs in the last five overs.

Services, chasing a formidable target, lost wickets at regular intervals to struggle at 122 for five after 27 overs.

However, captain Rajat Paliwal played a fine knock (90, 102b, 6x4) and added 77 runs with Pulkit Narang (53, 58b, 5x4) to reduce the margin of defeat.

Bengal bowlers executed their plans well. Four of them – Ishan Porel, Mukesh Kumar, Akash Deep and Shahbaz – claimed two wickets apiece.