Vijay Hazare: Smit Patel's ton in vain, Bengal beats Tripura

Bengal cashed in on Tripura's lack of batting experience and despite Smit Patel's ton, the Manoj Tiwary-led side won the match.

Smit Patel scored a century but failed to take Tripura over the line. (File Photo)   -  B. Jothi Ramalingam

A mighty performance from Tripura's openers, Smit Patel (135 n.o, 153b) and Nirupam Chowdhry (53, 70b), threatened to make easy work of Bengal's competitive target before the batsmen resorted to an inexplicable slow passage of play, gifting Bengal its second win in as many matches despite having six wickets in hand.

Chasing 273, Chowdhry's enterprising knock - peppered with seven hits to the fence - was the cornerstone of the innings as it allowed Smit - who was slow off the blocks - to take his time before upping the ante.

Tripura,  which lost Chowdhry with the score on 103, limped to 147 in the next 11 overs, collecting only four runs an over.

Following Chowdhry's wicket, whose stay at the crease was terminated when he was caught off leg-spinner Barman, Smit began to gather momentum.

He played a series of good looking shots — including a couple of innovative ramp shots off Dinda — en route to his century off 134 balls, but was impeded by the slow nature of the wicket and fine spell of bowling by leg-spinner Prayas Barman (2 for 42) and medium pacer Vivek Singh (0 for 25).

Bravesh Shetty raised hopes with his 32-ball 37, during which he hammered three sixes,  but he was caught in the deep off Barman.

Earlier,  A. Easwaran and S. Goswami started the proceedings for Bengal after captain Manoj Tiwary won the toss and elected to bat first.

Easwaran hit two back-to-back boundaries off Tripura right-arm seamer Abhijit Sarkar, one a flick over the fielder at mid-wicket and another an upper-cut over backward point.

Goswami, at the other end, unfurled a glorious off-drive off pacer Rana Datta before the latter broke the opening stand — Easwaran, playing his first Vijay Hazare match of the season, getting caught behind for 20 off 24 balls.

Both Goswami and Sudip Chatterjee, then, carefully saw off a couple of tight overs, to bring up the team fifty in the 13th over.

With two left-handers in the middle, right-arm off-spinners Rajib Saha and Bravish Shetty operated in tandem.

Saha bagged his first wicket and Tripura's second of the match when Goswami missed a fuller delivery on the off stump and was out bowled for a rather sedate 22 off 40 balls.

Chatterjee was joined by Tiwary and together, they kept the scoreboard ticking over with quick ones and twos even as the boundaries dried up.

The batsmen went 31 balls without a big hit before Tiwary finally broke the shackles against Harmeet Singh in the 20th over, when he lofted the left-arm spinner over cover for four and followed it up with a heave over deep mid-wicket for a six.

Tiwary had grown in confidence enough by now as evidenced by the boundary and six he hit off successive balls in one over of Sarkar, eventually bringing up his 50 in 46 balls.

Chatterjee and Tiwary stitched together a 75-run third-wicket partnership before off-spinner Rajat Dey had the left-hander caught at point for a well-made 44 off 61 balls.

Tiwary was run out for 67 but A. Majumdar's 35-ball 48,  studded with four boundaries and a six,  powered Bengal to 272/9.

Dey was the pick of the bowlers for Tripura, bagging four for 48.