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Bengal book Punjab in final of U23 Natl One-Day meet

11th February 2018
The Bengal U23 team continued their good run in the Men’s cricket Under 23 One Day League and Knockout beating Kerala by three runs in a cliff-hanger of a semi-final in Kanpur to book a final against Punjab.
Flamboyant bowling from Amit Kuila and enchanting spin from Prayas Roy Burman made sure that Kerala fell short of the very achievable 196 runs target by three runs. On a pitch that assisted the bowlers and deteriorated with every over Amit Kuila bowled with spink and imagination as he picked three for 40 runs that included the top three of the Kerala batting order Rohan Kunnummal (19), Sachin Suresh (12) and Ammer Zeeshan (5) that literally broke the back of their attack.
While Ananta Saha and Raju Haldar chipped in with a wicket each, it was young Prayas who bowled with guile and variation to run through the middle-order of Kerala batting. His figures of 4 for 36 made the Bengal total look really tall. And once he returned skipper Salman Nizar (37) and Harikrishnan (57) who looked to take the game away, it was curtains on Kerala’s hopes.  They were bowled out for 193 with two balls to spare.
Earlier, Bengal won the toss and elected to bat on wicket that looked a difficult surface. However Sourav Pal (36) gave a decent start to the team, followed by a 80 run fifth wicket partnership between keeper-batsman Agniv Pan (36) and skipper Saurabh Singh who scored a fighting 57 to give his bowlers some runs to fight for. However, they managed only 196 for nine in their quota of 0 overs and it looked that the game was all but over.

Arindam Basu