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Bengal qualifies safely to the knockouts

28th November 2017
The Bengal-Goa match eventuates into a stalemate as Bengal books corridor to the quarter finals with three points in their Group D ties at the Eden Gardens, Kolkata. After the Bengal innings bred a 334 for 5 declared innings with a persistent partnership between Anustup and Writtick each scoring a ton, the away team finished at 86 for 2 at stumps.
The visitors drew first blood dismissing Abhimanyu Easwaran in the morning session who was then batting at 21. Garg who displayed some splendid movement off the pitch with the ball dismissed the opener with an off cutter that took a fine edge off Easwaran safely into the keeper's hands.
While the Bengal players struggled heavily during the morning session with the ball showing a lot of movement, the afternoon session is testimony to two centuries by the batting duo Anustup Majumdar and Writtick Chatterjee taking the tally to 403.
Anustup who survived a dismissal at 6 went on to score a brilliant ton scoring an undefeated 108. A brilliant through the gate delivery taking off the off stump looked like a dream purchase after Shreevats got lbw off Felix Alemao few moments earlier. The delivery showed up as a no ball at the third umpire's call and Anustup came back with a bang following an innings studded with 11 boundaries enroute his century.
Anustup performed decidedly well with two centuries against Goa scoring 119 in the first innings followed by 108 in the second innings. He was conferred the "Man of the Match" after a splendid innings.
Writtick Chatterjee also scored an unbeaten century following suit with 11 boundaries enroute his 102. Writtick scored his first first-class century in a match when it mattered the most helping Bengal to smoothly qualify for the knockout stage.
While the batting duo shook the opponents with their individual centuries and a massive 214 runs partnership of the sixth wicket, Punjab ceased to be a concern with the obvious outcome of the match ending up as a stalemate.
In a post match press interaction the Bengal skipper Manoj Tiwary said, "I always believed that we will qualify for the knockouts. While I cannot disagree to the fact that there have been slipups from our end, I feel that we will have to give emphasis on our fielding and develop for the knockout. In addition to that I feel that the bowlers who are bowling alongside Dinda need to do better with the day as we cannot afford such mistakes in the knockouts. The team will definitely look into this."
When asked about Anustup's performance in such a crucial match he said, "Anustup has always been a bright and talented cricketer. He wasn't in the loop for sometime but thanks to the selectors. His involvement and contribution in the team was much needed. As a captain I am happy for him."
He added, "Goa had good players this time I felt and more than getting help from the wicket they have executed and used their opportunities well. They had good amount of assistance from the wicket and they won the toss as well. We would've done the same had we been in their position. The entire team is very happy qualifying for the knockouts and we are happy that what we believed in has come true. We have youngsters in our team and a good batting lineup as well. All we have to do is use our resources well. There have been talks to involve Ishan and Shami in our team and we look forward to do well ahead."

Saptaswa Mukerjee