Tiwary and Ojha give Bengal their first outright win : Having taken a crucial lead of 133 runs in the first innings against Punjab at Bilaspur, Bengal went on to put up 226 runs in their second knock.
Bengal did not have a good start in their second innings also, losing the first innings centurion, Sayan Mondal very early. Mondal could add only 18 runs.
The Dharmashala hero and the other opener, Abhimanyu Easwaran (25) also could not contribute anything significantly.
Losing three wickets (Mondal, Abhi and Sudeep) with just 64 runs on the board, the Bengal skipper, Manoj Tiwary rose to the occasion and played a stellar innings to put up a stiff target for their opposition.
He added 35 runs for the fourth wicket alongwith Agniv Pan (12), 37 runs for the fifth wicket alongwith Pankaj Shaw (29), 56 runs for the sixth wicket alongwith Srivats Goswami (25) and 22 runs for the ninth wicket alongwith Ashok Dinda (8).
In the process he notched up his 26th half-ton in First Class cricket. He single-handedly anchored the innings. He held on to one end, while wickets kept tumbling at the other.
His stellar innings came to an end in the 65th over, when he was caught by the wicket-keeper, Gitansh Khera off the bowling of Sandeep Sharma, but not before personally contributing 92 runs of 130 deliveries with the help of 12 fours and a six, falling 8 runs short of what could have been his 23rd century.
Thanks to Tiwary’s contribution, Bengal ended their second knock with 226 runs on the board, giving a stiff target of 360 runs for the opposition.
For Punjab, Siddarth Kaul did the maximum damage and picked up 6 wickets, giving away 57 runs in his spell of 20 overs. Sandeep Sharma picked up a couple.
Though Punjab openers, Manan Vohra (75) and Jeevanjot Singh (44), gave a reasonably good start adding 100 runs for the first wicket, the other batsmen could not keep up the momentum.
Except their skipper, Yuvraj Singh (26), and the last batsman Manpreet Gony (43), all others failed to contribute.
Ashok Dinda started the demolition, first removing the opener, Jeevanjot Singh and then went on to add the wicket of Taruwar Kohli (9). The young debutant, Amit Kulia who picked up a ‘five-wicket’ haul in the first innings, went on to add the wickets of Uday Kaul,(7), Gurkeerat Singh Mann (1) and Sandeep Sharma (14) to end the match with an impressive analysis of 46-9-169-8.
The left arm spinner, Pragyan Ojha, joined the party and accounted for Manan Vohra (75), Gitansh Khera (0), Yuvraj Singh (26) and Vinay Choudhary (0).
Going wicket-less in the first innings, Ojha finished the match with the figures of 31-6-106-4.
Punjab’s innings folded up with just 244 runs on the board, enabling Bengal to register their first outright win in this season by a huge margin on 115 runs.
For a wonderful batting display by Bengal’s young opener, Sayan Mondal, in the first innings when he notched up his maiden FC century and laid the foundation for his team’s victory, was awarded the Player of the Match.
Bengal collected 6 points from the match.
They take on the mighty Railways in another 4 days time at Dharmashala.