New Delhi: Bengal beat Madhya Pradesh by a solitary run in a thrilling final to emerge champions in the National Twenty20 Championship for the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy at the Uppal Stadium in Hyderabad.
It was Bengal`s first major championship win at the senior level after 21 long years since Samabaran Banerjee-led side won the Ranji Trophy in 1990.
Bengal team which played consistent cricket throughout the tournament scored 142 for seven after being put into bat. Madhya Pradesh could only manage 141 for eight with Rameez Khan being run-out of the last delivery of the 20th over while attempting a second run which would have tied the scores.
For Bengal, the stand-out performer was man-of-the-match Subhamoy Das who smashed a quickfire 49 off 29 balls (5x4, 2x6) and added 77 runs for the fifth wicket with India discard Wriddhiman Saha (36, 24 balls, 1x4, 3x6). This was after Bengal were down in the dumps at 54 for four in 11 overs.
"It is a fantastic victory and augurs well for Bengal cricket," skipper Manoj said. Bengal who earned the `chokers` tag at the domestic level having played five national finals (three Vijay Hazare and two Ranji Trophy) in recent years failing to win even a single one of them.
"While playing in the knock-out stages, we never though we could lose. The manner in which our bowling department responded was phenomenal. We got a formidable side like Tamil Nadu out for less than 120 in an earlier match.”
"So we had the belief. It`s new team and the boys were ready to fight till the last ball. Youngsters like Sayan Sekhar Mondal, Arnab Nandi have done exceedingly well. I hope we will see transformation in the longer formats also," Manoj said.
Former India opener WV Raman who now has four national titles (two Vijay Hazare and a National T20 with Tamil Nadu and one T20 with Bengal) as a coach believes that the master stroke was to have a player like Subhamoy at No. 5.
"The boys have really won some close matches in this tournament. It was a conscious decision to have Subhamoy at No.5. It worked and full credit to the boys for this result," Raman said.
Subhamoy who won the match for Bengal feels that this innings will help him consolidate his position in the state side which he lost after joining the unofficial Indian Cricket League in 2007.
"It`s a happy co-incidence that my best year in first-class cricket was under W.V.Raman (in 2001) and now my second comeback has been under him. I had gone through a difficult period in the past two years and this innings will help me get back confidence."
The CAB will award a cash prize of Rs 10 lakh to the victorious team.