Ganguly scores 12 but Wriddhiman, Anustup win it for Bengal
Kolkata: Talented Anustup Majumdar notched his fourth century from five matches this season to power Bengal to a seven-wicket win over Orissa in their East Zone lung opener of the Vijay Hazare Trophy, here on Monday.
The convincing win also ensured a bonus point for the East Zone.
Chasing a modest 211, Bengal seemed in a spot of bother at 23 for three in the eighth over after the dismissal of skipper Sourav Ganguly (12 from 38 balls, 2x4), opener Jayojit Basu (0) and Arindam Ghosh (3).
But the two architects of East Zone`s Duleep Trophy triumph -- Majumdar (100 not out from 93 balls, 12x1, 1x6) and Wriddhiman Saha (85,75 balls, 9x4) added 190 runs for the unbroken fourth wicket stand to shut the door on Orissa.
Majumdar went inside out to hit offie Amit Das over extra cover as Bengal reached home with 92 balls to spare.
Electing to bat, Orissa found the going tough as they collapsed for 210 in 49.3 overs with left-arm spinner Iresh Saxena having figures of three for 20 in 10 overs.
Bengal strike bowler Ashok Dinda chipped in with two for 43.
In reply, Bengal started the chase on a watchful note as Orissa medium pacer Basant Mohanty took early wickets.
Debutant opener Jayojit was castled for a duck, while Arindam Ghosh (3) followed suit, leaving veteran Ganguly the task to rebuild the innings.
But Orissa did well to trap Ganguly at short fine-leg after the former India captain mistimed a pull from Deepak Behera`s bowling to reduce Bengal to 23 for three in 7.4 overs.
Wicketkeeper-batsman Wriddhiman, fresh from his Australia outing, however had other ideas.
Three elegant boundaries off Behera in the 10th over set the tone for Bengal`s chase as Majumdar too grew in confidence and started to break free.
The 27-year-old gave Saha the due credit for encouraging him during the partnership.
Anustup said, "Wriddhiman kept on supporting me. During our partnership, we just backed ourselves and went ahead playing our natural game," Majumdar said.
"By sheer hard work only, I`m being able to score runs consistently. Hope it gets even better from here on," Majumdar, who had two centuries (144, 102 no.) and a half-century (52) in East Zone`s triumphant Duleep Trophy campaign, said.
Majumdar also had a 111 in his only outing (vs Baroda) in the Ranji Trophy.
Brief Scores: Orissa 210 in 49.3 overs (Natraj Behera 46; Iresh Saxena 3/20) lost to Bengal 213/3; 34.4 overs (Anustup Majumdar 100 not out, Wriddhiman Saha 85 not out, Souarv Ganguly 12) by seven wickets.
Points: Bengal 5, Orissa -1.