Odisha, Bengal qualify for knockout stage from East Zone

Agartala: Rookie left-arm pacer Suryakant Pradhan claimed three wickets to help Odisha beat Bengal by 34 runs and top the table in the East Zone leg of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy T20 tournament on Thursday.

Three teams Odisha, Bengal and Assam finished the East Zone leg with 12 points each. But, the first two teams edged out the north-eastern state by the virtue of better run rate and made it to the all-India league cum knockout round, which will be held in Ranchi.

It was certainly heartbreak for Assam today as, despite registering a six-wicket victory over Jharkhand, they could topple Bengal from the second spot and failed to advance.

Defending a small total of 129, the 19-year-old Pradhan, who hogged the limelight with figures of seven for 39 against Jharkhand in the Vijay Hazare Trophy one-day, became Bengal`s nemesis today.

He claimed three for eight that enabled Odisha restrict Bengal to 95 for 7 at the Maharaja Bir Bikram College Stadium.

Odisha pace spearhead Basant Mohanty (2/14) gave his team the first breakthrough before Pradhan`s spell saw Bengal totter at 22 for four, from where they could never recover.

Earlier, in-form Govind Poddar top scored for Odisha with a gritty 46 off 36 balls (4x2, 2x6) and consolidated the team`s innings when they were reeling at 22 for 3 after electing to bat.

Meanwhile, put in to bat, Jharkhand scored a challenging 148 for seven in their stipulated 20 overs with Keshav Kumar top scoring with 56 (42b, 5x4, 1x6) at the Tripura Institute of Technology Ground.

Pallavkumar Das` 44-ball 50 (3x4, 2x6) helped Assam chase down the target with 16 balls to spare but it was not enough as they finished with a run rate of 0.036, behind Bengal (0.959) and Odisha (0.968).