Up against one of the most experienced batting line-ups of the tournament, and with only 167 runs to defend, Bengal looked out of the Vijay Hazare trophy at the half-way stage of their quarterfinal match against Tamil Nadu at the Eden Gardens on Tuesday.
But it wasn’t over yet. Thirteen overs into the second innings, their fast bowlers, Mohammed Shami and Ashok Dinda, had turned the game on its head, leaving Tamil Nadu reeling at 25 for five. It was all but over now.
Tamil Nadu were eventually bowled out for 90 in 33.5 overs and Bengal secured a berth in the semifinal, where they await the winners of the Punjab versus Railways match.
Dinda started the rout with a fantastic outswinger that saw Anirudha Srikkanth poke at it and offer a sharp catch to Sudip Chatterjee at second slip. Another outswinger got rid of the IPL million-dollar man Dinesh Karthik, who was caught behind. In between, Shami spat venom and made the Tamil Nadu batters hop and jump with his incoming deliveries. Baba Aparajith was beaten for pace and was trapped plumb in front.
Ravichandran Ashwin offered no stroke to an in-cutter and was adjudged leg before. Tamil Nadu captain Subramaniam Badrinath mis-timed an on-side flick to give a return catch to Shami. Soon after the fast bowler was taken out of the attack and his first spell read: 6-0-13-3. Dinda complemented him very well with the figures of 7-3-12-2. Both Shami and Dinda later returned to take one more wicket each.
Only Murali Vijay resisted the duo a bit at what were extremely seamer-friendly conditions, but he got no help from the other end. And after playing 85 balls for 24 runs, Vijay too lost patience and top-edged a pull of Veer Pratap Singh to deep fine leg where Sayan Sekhar Mondal latched on to a difficult catch.
After the opener’s wicket, only formalities remained.
Earlier, Bengal won the toss and chose to bat first but suffered a collapse against Yo Mahesh. The Tamil Nadu medium pacer bowled a perfect length and moved the ball both ways and was rewarded with four wickets. Other bowlers also supported him well.
Bengal batting lacked the will to fight out the tough conditions. Saurasish Lahiri (32) and Dinda (21 not out), however, added vital runs towards the end.
Manoj Tiwary looked pretty organised in his first national-level match after a seven-month injury lay-off. The six over long-on off Ashwin was contemptuous. But Mahesh snuck one through his defence and Tiwary was out after a 33-ball 25.
His two wickets notwithstanding, Ashwin didn’t look convincing. He bowled just one over in his first spell and gave away 11 runs. The offie was brought back only after the Bengal top order was gone. Still, there was more than a hint of concern the way Dinda smashed him for fours at the death.
Brief scores: Bengal 167 all out in 42.1 overs (S Lahiri 32, M Tiwary 25; Yo Mahesh 4/23, Rahil Shah 2/18) beat Tamil Nadu 90 all out in 33.5 overs (M Vijay 24, M Mohammed 14; Mohammed Shami 4/25, A Dinda 3/13) by 77 runs
Uthappa, Nair hit tons
Kolkata: Robin Uthappa and Karun Nair hit individual centuries to lead Karnataka’s recovery before skipper Vinay Kumar grabbed a five-wicket haul to guide the the Ranji Trophy champions to a 27-run win over Gujarat in their quarterfinal match on Tuesday.
Vinay Kumar returned figures of five for 85 in his 12 overs to dismiss Gujarat for 274 in 48.2 overs. Karnataka had scored 301 for seven in 50 overs after being invited to bat at the Jadavpur University Complex ground. Karnataka were struggling at 31/4 in the eighth over before opener Uthappa (132 not out) and Nair (120) put up a marvellous batting effort and stitched a 209-run partnership. Uthappa faced 135 balls and hit 10 fours and three sixes, while youngster Nair hit 14 boundaries and a six in his 121-ball knock, which turned out to be his maiden List A century.
The duo consolidated the partnership after Jasprit Bumrah (4/58) and Kamlesh Thakor (2/57) claimed two wickets apiece to rattle Karnataka. Bumrah and Thakor removed top-order batsmen — Mayank Aggarwal (0), Manish Pandey (8), Ganesh Satish (0) and K L Rahul (0).
Karnataka will face the winners of Services and Jharkhand in the semifinals. (Press Trust of India)
Brief Scores: Karnataka 301 for seven in 50 overs (Robin Uthappa 132 not out, Karun Nair 120; Jasprit Bumrah 4/58) beat Gujarat 274 in 48.2 overs (Akshar Patel 93, Rujul Bhatt 67; R Vinay Kumar 5/85, Abhimanyu Mithun 3/51) by 27 runs.