India `A` trounce Bengal by eight wickets
Rajkot: Shikhar Dhawan remained unbeaten on 99 after Ishant Sharma returned a four-wicket haul as India A thrashed Bengal by eight wickets in the opening cricket match of the NKP Salve Challenger Trophy.
It was all round performance by India A as they bundled out Bengal to a modest 193 and then overhauled the target with 12.4 overs to spare.
Skipper Wriddhiman Saha was top scorer with his 65-run knock while Arnab Nandi (43) Jayojit Basu (42) were the other notable scorers for Bengal.
Ishant (4/29) and spinner Pragyan Ojha (3/40) shared seven wickets between them as Bengal batsmen struggled to score against the pace-spin duo.
Ojha removed Jayojit and Sandipan Das to hand India `A` a good start while Ishant scalped Saha, Debabrata Das (1), Sourav Sarkar (0) and Subomoy Das (9).
India A lost opener Robin Uthappa (25) early but left-handed Dhawan and Ajinkya Rahane (63) shared a match-winning 150-run stand for the second wicket to crush Bengal`s hopes of making a comeback.
The stand was broken by Basu, who caught Rahane off his own bowling. Rahane`s knock came off 84 balls and with five shots to the fence.
Dhawan paced his innings well as he took 112 balls for his knock, which was studded with 12 boundaries.
Skipper S Badrinath (6) remained unbeaten with Dhawan to steer side home comfortably.
Earlier, Bengal skipper Wriddhiman Saha won the toss and decided to bat first but his top order batting line-up collapsed against Sharma and Ojha.
However skipper Saha did the needful with Arnab Nandy by adding 84 runs for the seventh wicket, but once the pair was bowled out rest of the Bengal batsmen failed to resist the India `A` bowlers and were all out in just 41.1 overs.
Chasing a target of 194 runs to win, India `A` openers Dhawan and Uthappa gave flying start by adding 34 runs off just first five overs, however, aggressive Uthappa was dismissed after making 25 runs from 19 balls with five fours.
One down Ajinkya Rahane gave able support to Dhawan and the left, right combination did not give any chance to Bengal bowlers to come back in the match by adding 151 runs for the second wicket.
Rahane made 63 that came off 84 balls with five fours. Dhawan missed well-deserved century by just one run and remained unbeaten on 99 (112b, 12X4) along with S Badrinath (6).
India `A` achieved the target in just 37.2 overs losing two wickets only and secure five points including a bonus point.
Brief Score:- Bengal 193 (Wriddhiman Saha 65, Arnab nandi 43, Ishant Sharma 4-29, Pragyan Ojha 3-40) lost to India `A` 196 for 2 (Shikhar Dhawan not out 99, Ajinkya Rahane 63, Saurav Sarkar 1-27, J Basu 1-16).