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Unbeaten Manoj rescues Bengal

12th February 2020
Experienced Bengal batsman Manoj Tiwary fought a lone battle with the bat today against Punjab while Vinay Choudhary starred for the hosts with a 6-wicket haul in a crucial Ranji Trophy Group A match today in Patiala.
Electing to bat first Bengal made only 138 thanks to Manoj's masterful 73 not out off 108 balls while Shahbaz Ahamad picked up two wickets to restrict the hosts to 93/3 at the end of the day's play.
After the commendable innings Manoj said to CAB Media: "The wicket was challenging and it was turning. Their pacers bowled well in the morning. Couple of more good partnerships with me would've been good for our innings. There's a lot of play left. They lost a wicket on the last ball of the day and it will not be easy for the new batsman tomorrow morning."
"Nothing can be predicted about the match right now as they might lose the 7 wickets left within 45 runs tomorrow. Tomorrow first hour will be very important and will set the course of the match for us," he added.
Ramesh Prasad made his debut today while Writtick Chatterjee was also included in the squad.
Skipper Abhimanyu Easwaran was the first Bengal batter to go back which reduced the visitors to 8/1 while Koushik Ghosh became Baltej Singh's second victim in the tenth over.
Kishan Alang broke Abhishek Raman (14) and Arnab Nandi (11) partnership which brought Manoj on the crease and the experienced Bengal batter lasted till the end to post a fighting score.
Vinay bagged the wickets of Sreevats Goswami (19), Anustup Majumder and Shahbaz Ahamad in one over which triggered the collapse and from 104/5 Bengal got bundled out for 138.
Akash Deep removed Rohan Marwaha (48) on the last ball of the day as the visitors lead by 45 runs.
Bengal coach Arun Lal said: "There was little bit moisture on the wicket. We did not bat well today. Our top order have not scored much which obviously affected our innings. Manoj batted well and thanks to him we have put up that score. The ball's turning a bit today and will turn more from tomorrow. This is going to be a two-innings game and we have to play a better second innings. Big fight tomorrow. We need to bowl them out within 200 first."
Bengal bowling department will be desperate to bowl out Punjab as soon as possible tomorrow and will expect a different batting display in the next innings.

Rio Dutta