CUTTACK: Wriddhiman Saha roared back to form with a blistering 62-ball-129 as Bengal beat Arunachal Pradesh by 107 runs in a group D league match of the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 tournament here Wednesday.
Wriddhiman plundered the hapless Arunachal bowlers into submission en route his highest score in T20 cricket, hitting 16 boundaries and four sixes, helping Bengal post a mamoth 234 for 6.
Arunachal never had the ammunition to chase down the target and reached 127 for 4 in their stipulated 20 overs.
The match was all about Wriddhiman, who opened the innings after a string of low scores — 2, 3, 6 and 11 in the previous four games.
While he is coming after an nine-month lay-off following a shoulder surgery, the innings would give him a lot of confidence ahead of the Indian Premier League even though the standard of bowling was sub-par.
This was his second century in the shortest format after 114 for Kings XI Punjab in the in the IPL 2014 final in Bengaluru, which Kolkata Knight Riders won.
“The ploy of pushing Wriddhi up the order worked. He need to get some time at the crease and look what a gem he delivered. Fantastic innings. The late surge also helped,” Bengal skipper Manoj Tiwary hailed.
Bengal also promoted Ritwik Chowdhury to open dropping in-form Shreevats Goswami at No 5 as the opening duo put on 37 runs in 19 balls.
Skipper Manoj Tiwary continued his poor form and departed for two as Saha forged a partnership with young vice-captain Abhimanyu Easwaran (31), the duo adding 96 quick runs in just 51 balls.
Lower down the order Vivek Singh produced a quickfire cameo of 18-ball 49 but was unlucky to miss out on a halfcentury to give Bengal a winning total.
Asked about his poor form, Tiwary said: “It’s just a matter of time. I am hitting the ball well in nets. O know I will score big soon. The next too matches are crucial for us and we are looking to leave everything on the field. The team is motivated to do well,” he added.
Meanwhile Karnataka kept their march towards Super League securing their fifth win on the trot when they fought hard to beat Chhattisgarh by four wickets.
Chasing a stiff 172, Karnataka found themselves reeling at 122/6 with 21 balls remaining.
Batting at No 7, former skipper R Vinay Kumar (14-ball 34 not out) held his nerves to take them across the line with three balls to spare.
Railways halt Mumbai in their tracks
INDORE: Railways dished out a clinical performance in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy here Wednesday, crushing formidable Mumbai by 57 runs and snapping their unbeaten run in the group stage of the domestic T20 tournament.
Coming into the match, Mumbai had won all their games so far in the tournament.
But in their Group C match against Railways, the domestic giants put up a sub-par show.
Put into bat by Mumbai skipper Ajinkya Rahane, Railways posted a competitive 175/5 in their 20 overs with opener Pratham Singh (89) top-scoring.
Chasing 176, the famed Mumbai batting line-up collapsed as they were shot out for 118 in 18.1 overs.
For Railways, their openers Pratham Singh (89 off 60 balls) and Mrunal Devdhar (43 off 20 balls) put up 65 runs for the first wicket.
Pacer Tushar Deshpande got the breakthrough for Mumbai after he cleaned up Devdhar, who struck two fours and five sixes.
Railways lost one-down Prashant Awasthi (0) early.
But the quick fall of two wickets did not deter 26-year-old Pratham, who kept playing his shots.
He hit nine fours and three sixes as Mumbai bowlers were taken to task and it was due to his blazing knock that Railways made 175/5.
Mumbai lost openers Rahane (4) and young prodigy Prithvi Shaw (6) cheaply, leaving them at 12-2.
In-form Shreyas Iyer (16) and dependable Siddhesh Lad (2) also fell in quick succession as Mumbai slumped to 33/4.
Barring Surya Kumar Yadav (38) no other batsman crossed 20-run individual mark.
Mumbai were never in the fray as they kept losing wickets and were eventually bundled out for 118.
For Railways, slow left-arm orthodox bowler Ashish Yadav (4-32) was the pick of the bowlers and was well supported by others.
Jharkhand notch up 4th straight win
MULAPADU (AP): The Jharkhand juggernaut rolled on as the team defeated Nagaland by 54 runs for its fourth straight victory in a Group ‘A’ match in the Syed Musthaq Ali Trophy cricket tournament here Wednesday.
Jharkhand piled up 197 for 3 in 20 overs riding on good knocks by captain Ishan Kishan (52, 39 balls, 11X4), Kumar Deobrat (69 not out) and Anukul Roy (47 not out) and then restricted Nagaland to 143 for 3.
Electing to bat, Kishan started off on a brisk note before losing opening partner Anand Singh (14, 3X4) at 20.
But, the aggressive left-hander stepped up the pace and took the attack to the Nagaland bowlers, adding 42 runs with Virat Singh (9, 15b).
After Virat’s exit, Kishan and Deobrat, who smashed five fours and six sixes in his swashbuckling 32-ball 69,put on 24 runs.
The 111-run partnership for the fourth wicket in a little over eight overs between Deobrat and Roy, who hit four boundaries and three sixes, shut out Nagaland as they bowlers wilted under the onslaught.
In reply, the Nagaland batsmen couldn’t force the pace and ended up 54 runs short.
Sedezhalie Rupero, who made 38 from 54 balls, struggled to get the big hits while captain Rongsen Jonathan made 47 (33 balls, 4X4, 2X6).
Paceman Varun Aaron bowled his four overs conceding just 13 runs and picked up one wicket.
In other matches, Kerala thrashed Jammu and Kashimr by 94 runs, bundling out its rival for 65 after making 159 for 7 while Delhi defeated Andhra Pradesh by 32 runs to notch up its fourth victory.