Wriddhiman Saha roared back to form with a blistering 62-ball-129 as Bengal beat Arunachal Pradesh by 107 runs in a group D league match of the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 tournament on Wednesday.
Wriddhiman plundered the hapless Arunachal bowlers into submission en route his highest score in T20 cricket, hitting 16 boundaries and four sixes, helping Bengal post a mammoth 234 for 6.
Arunachal never had the ammunition to chase down the target and reached 127 for 4 in their stipulated 20 overs.
The match was all about Wriddhiman, who opened the innings after a string of low scores -- 2, 3, 6 and 11 in the previous four games.
While he is coming after an nine-month lay-off following a shoulder surgery, the innings would give him a lot of confidence ahead of the Indian Premier League even though the standard of bowling was sub-par.
This was his second century in the shortest format after his 114 for Kings XI Punjab in the IPL 2014 final in Bengaluru, which Kolkata Knight Riders won.
"The ploy of pushing Wriddhi up the order worked. He needed to get some time at the crease and look what a gem he delivered. Fantastic innings. The late surge also helped," Bengal skipper Manoj Tiwary hailed.
Bengal also promoted Ritwik Chowdhury to open, dropping in-form Shreevats Goswami at No 5 as the opening duo put on 37 runs in 19 balls.
Skipper Manoj Tiwary continued his poor form and departed for two as Saha forged a partnership with young vice-captain Abhimanyu Easwaran (31), the duo adding 96 quick runs in just 51 balls.
Lower down the order Vivek Singh produced a quickfire cameo of 18-ball 49 but was unlucky to miss out on a half-century to give Bengal a winning total.
Asked about his poor form, Tiwary said: "It's just a matter of time. I am hitting the ball well in the nets. I know I will score big soon. The next two matches are crucial for us and we are looking to leave everything on the field. The team is motivated to do well," he added.
Meanwhile, Karnataka kept their march towards the Super League on track securing their fifth win on the trot when they fought hard to beat Chhattisgarh by four wickets.
Chasing a stiff 172, Karnataka found themselves reeling at 122/6 with 21 balls remaining.
Batting at No 7, former skipper R Vinay Kumar (14-ball 34 not out) held his nerves to take them across the line with three balls to spare.
At Barabati Stadium: Bengal 234/6; 20 overs (Wriddhiman Saha 129, Vivek Singh 49; Akhilesh Sahani 3/36) beat Arunachal Pradesh 127/4; 20 overs (Kshitiz Sharma 54 not out) by 107 runs.
Chhattisgarh 171/3; 20 overs (Harpeet Singh 79, Amandeep Khare 45 not out) lost to Karnataka 175/6; 19.2 overs (Karun Nair 35, R Vinay Kumar 34 not out; A Mourya 2/13, Shubham Singh 2/35, Vishal Kushwah 2/40) by four wickets.
At DRIEMS Ground: Haryana 205/2; 20 overs (Guntashveer Singh 100 not out, Sumit KUmar 41; Lalnunkima Varte 2/30) beat Mizoram 166/5; 20 overs (Taruwar Kohli 63, Akhil Rajput 59; Rahul Tewatia 2/18, Ashish Hooda 2/25) by 39 runs.
Assam 142/9; 20 overs (Sibasankar Roy 47; Pappu Roy 4/21) lost to Odisha 143/3; 16.5 overs (Biplab Samantray 49, Anurag Sarangi 43 not out) by seven wickets.