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Ranji Trophy : Team Bengal in a very strong position after ‘back to back’ outright wins

Team Bengal in a very strong position after ‘back to back’ outright wins: Team Bengal is in a very comfortable position having collected 15 points from three games and is a strong contender for a berth in the knockout round.

After convincingly beating Yuvraj-led Punjab by 115 runs in Bilaspur, they got the ‘better of’ the mighty Railways at Dharmashala.

The match was a low-scoring one for Bengal, compared to their previous two games against UP and Punjab.

Put in to bat, they could accumulate only 205 runs in their first innings. Their star openers – Abhimanyu Easwaran (8) and Sayan Mondal (25) – failed to give a good start.

The other middle-order batsmen like skipper, Manoj Tiwari (0), wicket-keeper, Wriddhiman Saha (0), Agniv Pan (27), Pankaj Shah (4) and Aamir Gani (15) failed to make any significant contribution.

It was upto the young south-paw Sudip Chatterjee to shoulder the responsibility of bringing some respectability to the score board, which he did with alacrity.

He added 52 runs for the second wicket alongwith Mondal and added 66 runs for the fifth wicket alongwith Pan. In the process he also registered his 12th half-ton.

Playing an innings of 158 minutes, Chatterjee notched up 85 runs with the help of 11 hits to the fence. He departed at the team score of 152 runs for the loss of 7 wickets.

A rearguard action by Ashok Dinda, who scored a very useful 30 runs off just 26 deliveries, with 5 fours, enabled Bengal to cross the 200-mark and end their first innings with 205 runs on the board.

For Railways, Anureet Singh was the most successful bowler, picking up 4 wickets, giving away 65 runs in 23.5 overs. Amit Mishra accounted for Mondal, Tiwary and Saha, giving away 38 runs in his spell of 7 overs.

Railways reply was not anything to ‘write home about’. They started very poorly and in no time lost half their side with just 39 runs on the board.

The best partnership was for the eighth wicket between the skipper Karn Sharma and Amit Mishra, that yielded 31 runs. Only three batsmen, Shivakant Shukla (14), Mrunal Devdhar (17), and Karn Sharma (40) could score in double digits.

For Bengal, Ashok Dinda continued from where he left in the previous game. He unleashed sheer pace and got the better of Wakasar (4), Devdhar (17), Anureet (4), Rawat (9) and Bansal (0). In the process he gave away only 45 runs in his 14 overs.

Amit Kulia, who made a very successful debut in the previous game against Punjab and had also bagged the Player of the Match award, accounted for Shukla (14) and Arindam (4), giving away 24 runs in 9 overs. The other three wickets were claimed by Sayan Ghosh, who gave away 31 runs in 4.3 overs.

Railways could notch up only 105 runs in their first innings.

Taking a vital lead of 100 runs, Bengal added another 214 runs in their second innings. For a second time, the openers failed to give a good start and it was upto the middle order, Chatterjee (20), skipper Tiwary (48) and wicket-keeper Wridhhiman Saha (44) to do the bulk of the scoring.

A stiff target of 315 runs stared at the Railways batsmen to be chased.

Dinda produced another deadly spell of 26.2 overs, in which he gave away 67 runs and picked up another ‘five wicket’ haul.

Kulia picked up 3 wickets while Ghosh accounted for Shivkant Shukla and Arindam Ghosh.

While Shukla contributed a very valuable 83 runs, Ghosh chipped in with 51 runs and the skipper, Karn Sharma, managed to notch up 54 runs. None of other batsmen could handle the ‘fiery’ bowling of the Bengal bowlers.

Railways could aggregate only 271 runs in their second knock and fell short of the target by 44 runs.

For his match figures of 40.2-9-112-10, Ashok Dinda was awarded the Player of the Match. Incidentally this was his fourth ‘ten wicket haul’ in First Class cricket.

Bengal take on Gujarat in Delhi on 5th November, 2016.

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