Shahbaz Ahmed lead from the front, guiding Tapan Memorial Club (TMC) to victory in the inaugural edition of the Bengal T20 Challenge.
Ahmed scored 54 with the bat and picked up five wickets giving away just 10 runs in his quota of four overs to help Tapan Memorial beat Mohun Bagan by 33 runs in the finale.
Earlier, Mohun Bagan won the toss and elected to bowl first. Tapan Memorial got off to a shaky start losing four wickets for just 40 runs as Bagan pacer Akash Deep and experienced spinner Rajkumar Pal bagged 2 wickets apiece.
It was then that Shahbaz Ahmed along with Kaif Ahamad came to the rescue of TMC with a 78-run partnership.
Shahbaz smashed a fluent 41-ball 54 (2×4, 4×6) before being caught by Akash off Anurag Tiwary while Kaif stayed unbeaten on 39.
Chasing 146 for victory, Bagan were bowled out for 112.
While receiving the Man of the Match award for the final, Shahbaz said, “I have been doing it for Tapan. Last evening I had a niggle and physio Aditya da really worked hard to get me fit for today. We had a shaky start but Kaif and I had a good partnership and we were always confident that if we bowl in the right spots we could win.”
“I am now used to staying in a bubble. But here I was with old friends and that made a big difference.”
Brief Scores: Tapan Memorial Club 145/6 in 20 overs (Shahbaz Ahmed 54, Kaif Ahmed 39 n.o., Akash Deep 2/15, Rajkumar Pal 2/26) bt Mohun Bagan 112 in 18 overs (Anustup Majumdar 46, Vivek Singh 30, Shahbaz Ahmed 5/10, Ramesh Prasad 2/15)
Cricket returns to Edens
Even in the midst of a pandemic, the final of the Bengal T20 Challenge at the historic Eden Gardens was an evening filled with music, fun, warmth, and protocols of the new normal.
The successful completion of 15 days of cricket juggernaut that saw 33 games played behind closed doors amid strict bio-bubble protocols was signature to Cricket Association of Bengal’s capacity to hold cricket at the highest level here at Eden Gardens even in these uncertain conditions.
For the final, the lower tier of the club house turned into festive mood with blue and yellow ribbons (house colours of CAB) decking up the chairs. A band of men and women dhakis filled the atmosphere with festive spirit, as did the DJ from the B Block with trance music and hoots to build the ambience.
There were no more than 200 odd people sprinkled about in the massive stadium.
Man of the Match: Shahbaz Ahmad of Tapan Memorial
Fair Play Trophy: East Bengal club
Catch of the Tournament: Amit Kuila of Kalighat
Batsman of the Tournament: Anustup Majumdar of Mohun Bagan
Bowler of the Tournament: Ramesh Prasad of Tapan Memorial
MVP of the Tournament: Md Kaif from Town Club
Runners-up Trophy: Mohun Bagan
Winner’s Trophy: Tapan Memorial Club