Brilliant Bengal earn quarterfinal spot
14th February 2020
Youngster Shahbaz Ahamad and experienced batsman Manoj Tiwary lead Bengal to a 48-run victory over Punjab in a must win Ranji Trophy encounter at opponent's den and entered quarterfinal today.
The winning team skipper Abhimanyu Easwaran said: "The team's picking up at the right time and now it's time to play our best. We have played really well in the last two matches- we chased big scores and defended small scores as well. We want to enjoy the moment and keep moving forward by doing our parts for the team."
"We're eyeing the trophy but nothing else," he added.
The young Bengal all-rounder bagged total 11 wickets from the match while Manoj showed his class with unbeaten 73 and 65 in both innings respectively on a difficult turning wicket.
Bengal coach Arun Lal said: "We had to win two away matches on the trot to qualify and we won the both matches from difficult situations. We played last two matches we played like knockouts."
The former Bengal skipper was adjudged man of the match for his impressive batting.
The Bengal coach heaped praise on Manoj saying: "Manoj is a pro. He's tried, tested and talented India cricketer. He played two magnificent innings in this match. On difficult turning tracks there's no better batsman than Manoj Tiwary in India. These two are very special innings. He's a masterclass in how to play on difficult tracks."
"Shahbaz on the other hand is a new young guy and in the last match he won us with his batting and this match with his bowling. Shahbaz is a special talent, he's mentally very strong. Shahbaz and Arnab are the finds of our team this year," he added about Shahbaz.
Earlier resuming the day on 199/9 Bengal scored 202 and put to bat again Punjab top order surrendered in front of lethal Bengal bowling while Ramandeep Singh fought a lone battle by staying unbeaten on 69.
Akash Deep removed Abhijeet Garg in the very first over followed by the dismissal of Sharad Lumba in the fifth to reduce Punjab to 5/2 and the three spinners Arnab Nandi, Shahbaz and Ramesh Prasad picked up 1 wicket apiece to make things difficult for the hosts.
The Bengal skipper praised both Manoj and Shahbaz by saying:"Manoj (bhaiya) can score on any wicket and he's showed his experience here. While other batters were getting troubled by the turn, he played batted very well. We're lucky to have him. Shahbaz has been contributing with both and the ball. He's done so well so far this season."
From 37/5 Ramandeep and Anmol Malhotra stiched a 63-run partnership to arrest the slide till Shahbaz finally broke the deadlock sending the latter one back on 17.
After that it was only a matter of time as Shahbaz cleaned up the tail by taking 3 more while Sreevats Goswami ran Baltej Singh out to bundle Punjab for 141 runs and grab 9 points.
CAB MEDIA DESK