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Bengal fall 7 short on mammoth chase

9th February 2018
Bengal lost to Uttar Pradesh by 7 runs in their third Group B match of Vijay Hazare Trophy and it virtually put paid to any hopes of progressing to the next round.
Playing at Lunhu, Bengal won the toss after a very long time and decided to field, a decision that came back to haunt the team. They bled 329 runs hardly putting any resistance to UP's free flow of runs.
Their chase began disastrously as they loat Sreevats Goswami and Abhimanyu Easwaran cheaply. But for a while they looked to be on course with a 121 run partnership between Anustup Majumdar and Vivek Singh. Both the players looked to have found the scorung bat as they went about their job merrily.
But Anustup went for one too many to be cleaned by Suresh Raina for 51. Vivek was batting on 68. Then Vivek formed another fruitful partnership with skipper Manoj Tiwari. But woth the run rate accelerating and Tiwari failing to break free things looked to tighten for Bengal. As Manoj tried to cut lose he was bowled by Saurabh Kumar for 32 off 34 balls. Vivek who was living dangerously departed soon after on 147 off 125 balls. At 249 for five it looked like an uphill task.
The UP bowlers further tightened the noose and despite a 30 ball 35 from Writtick Chatterjee it was never enough. The Bengal innings folded on 322 with two balls to spare. A valiant effort gone to waste.
Earlier, riding on Akashdeep Nath's 72 ball 103 and decent contributions of 60 (54 balls) Prashant Gupta and 60 (48 balls) from Mohammad Saif, UP put up the giant figures on the board. Manoj deployed 8 bowlers to bring variations in attack and stem the rot, but nothing fell Bengal's way today.
While the top UP bowlers kept chipping away with Ankit Rajput (3wkts), Kartik Tyagi, M M Khan and Saurabh Kumar, all bagging two wickets each, all getting purchase from the wicket; Bengal had very little to show for their efforts in course of 50 overs.

Arindam Basu