Opener Vivek Singh hammered a 64-ball 100 to star in Bengal's 16-run win over Jharkhand in an Elite Group B match of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy T20 tournament here on Tuesday. The home team had earlier notched up a victory over Odisha on the opening day (January 10).
Opting to bat first at the Eden Gardens, Bengal rode on left-handed Singh's stroke-filled century to make 161 for 6 in 20 overs. Singh's knock was studded with 13 fours and 3 sixes. This was his first T20 hundred and his shot selection must have impressed the IPL scouts present at the Eden Gardens, including KKR's talent scout Saurashish Lahiri.
After a first wicket partnership of 60 between Singh and Shreevats Goswami (27, 28 balls, 3 fours), the home team faltered as none of the other batsmen got going. The Jharkhand bowlers did well to hit back after a solid start by Singh and Goswami and picked up the important wickets of skipper Anustup Majumdar and Manoj Tiwary to stymie the Bengal scoring.
In reply, Jharkhand saw opener Anand Singh (13) fall in the third over. Captain Ishan Kishan (22) and Virat Singh (47, 35 balls, 4 fours, 2 sixes) raised 38 runs for the second wicket. When the duo was looking to up the scoring rate, Kishan was snared by Arnab Nandi.
The wickets of Kumar Suraj, Pankaj Kumar and Virat in quick succession pegged Jharkhand back further. Despite some aggression shown by Utkarsh Singh (28, 14 balls, 3 fours, 2 sixes), Jharkhand fell short by 16 runs.
In another match in the group, Hyderabad pulled off a six-run win over Odisha. In the third Group B match of the day, a dominant Tamil Nadu routed Assam by 10 wickets at the Eden Gardens.
The TN bowlers came up with an impressive performance as spinners -- Murugan Ashwin (2/16) and R Sai Kishore (2/17) -- shone to help restrict the opposing team to 126 for seven in 20 overs.
In response, N Jagadeesan (78 not out, 8 fours, 3 sixes) and C Hari Nishaanth (47, 40 balls, 5 fours, 1 six) powered Tamil Nadu home in 15 overs.
Brief scores: Bengal 161/6 in 20 overs (Vivek Singh 100 not out, Shreevats Goswami 27, Monu Kumar 3/30) bt Jharkhand 145/9 in 20 overs (Virat Singh 47, Utkarsh Singh 28);
Hyderabad 153/8 in 30 overs (Tilak Varma 44, Tanmay Agarwal 34, Suryakant Pradhan 3/34) bt Odisha 147/4 in 20 overs (Govinda Poddar 50, Subhransu Senapati 42 not out, Rajesh Dhupar 30 not out, C V Milind 2/24);
Assam 126/7 in 20 overs (Rajjakuddin Ahmed 29, Riyan Parag 24, Murugan Ashwin 2/16, R Sai Kishore 2/17) lost to Tamil Nadu 128 for no loss in 15 overs (N Jagadeesan 78 not out, C Hari Nishaanth 47)