Bengal beat Hyderabad by 4 wkts to record 1st outright win
Kolkata: Patient half-centuries by Wriddhiman Saha and Rohan Banerjee after an impressive morning spell by Shami Ahmed helped Bengal record their maiden outright win in this edition of Ranji Trophy beating Hyderabad by four wickets on the third day at Eden Gardens.
Chasing a target of 181, Bengal knocked off the runs at the end of 63 overs largely due to a 79-run fourth wicket partnership between left-handed opener Banerjee, who scored 56 while Test team`s reserve glovesman Saha remained unbeaten on 52.
Bengal now have 13 points from seven games and have a very slim chance of making it to the knock-out stage provided they get seven against Railways from their last game and have a few favourable results going their way.
In the morning, Shami removed two of the remaining three Hyderabad batsmen to get them all-out for 181 with an overall lead of 180. Shami got six for 71 in the second innings and finished with a match-haul of 10/107 -- his second 10-for this season. It took only 5.2 overs and 28 minutes to wrap up the Hyderabad innings after they added nine runs to their overnight total.
His tally in the Ranji Trophy is 28 wickets from five games and will certainly be a contender for a berth in the national squad in the coming season.
Bengal had an ominous start to the run chase when Hyderabad rocked the top-order to reduce Bengal to 47 for three. But Wriddhiman and Banerjee ensured that there weren`t much hiccups to the run-chase.
Stand-in captain Laxmi Ratan Shukla also hit an unbeaten 22 off only 12 deliveries with five boundaries to finish it with a flourish.
Vice-captain Wriddhiman carried the bat through while Bengal`s bowling hero Shami took the winning run when his single to mid-on translated into five runs after an overthrow by rival wicketkeeper K Sumanth.
Earlier, Bengal had a jittery start to their chase when Arindam Das (11) was caught behind in the second ball after the drinks break. In the next over, debutant Sudip Chatterjee (0) was castled by Anwar Ahmed to be reduced to 33/2.
Abhishek Jhunjhunwala (7) was caught at second slip with the third Bengal batsman being dismissed edging one behind as the team went into the lunch break with a precarious 55/3.
But the Bengal batsmen finally managed to apply themselves on a pitch which had eased out compared to the first two days.
Wriddhiman and Banerjee showed patience at the crease as the duo completed respective half-centuries to help Bengal inch closer to the target.
The duo remained unscathed in the second session, something that turned the match in favour of Bengal. There was a brief panic in the home team`s camp post-tea when Banerjee was dismissed caught behind in the third over after the break.
`IPL Specialist` Debabrata Das (10) once again showed that he is not good enough for longer version as he was the fifth batsman to be out with 37 runs still needed.
Skipper Shukla then smashed five boundaries mainly off Anwar Ahmed as both had a heated exchange with umpires pacifying them. Wriddhiman remained cool at the other end to guide the team through with Shami getting the winning run.
Brief Scores: Hyderabad 115 and 181 in 62.4 overs (Ahmed Quadri 22; Shami Ahmed 6/71, LR Shukla 3/38).
Bengal 116 and 183/6 in 63 overs (Rohan Banerjee 56, Wriddhiman Saha 52 not out, Anwar Khan 3/68, Ashish Reddy 2/55). Bengal won by 4 wickets. Bengal 6 points; Hyderabad 0.