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Bengal settle for 3 points

4th November 2017
Bengal made rough ride of a chase of 141 runs and settled for three points against a plucky HPCA that refused to give in despite being on the mat for a major part of the four days in a Group-D match of Ranji Trophy here today.
Bengal bowled with heart and passion to restrict Himachal to 353 in their second innings. With 141 to win Bengal began disastrously losing Abhishek Raman to the first delivery of Rishi Dhawan. Thereafter Sudip Chatterjee (6), Manoj Tiwary (2) and Sreevats Goswami (11) fell to a dominant Rishi Dhawan who returned with figures of 4 for 37.
When both the team shook hands Wriddhiman Saha was unbeaten on 34 and Abhimanyu Easwaran unbeaten on 10 as Bengal finished on 65 for 4.
Md Shami and Mukesh Kumar began the proceedings for the day with Bengal looking to tidying up the rivals as soon as possible with target set on six points. But Priyanshu Khanduri and Nikhil Gangta stuck to their task.But the breakthrough looked round the corner even as the score progressed from the overnight total of 207 for 2 at a snail’s pace.
The third wicket fell when Gangta inside edged a Shami in-cutter to the gloves of Wriddhiman Saha for a well accomplished 57. Koushik Ghosh, who was brought in as a replacement of Mukesh Kumar, got a break through almost immediately as he trapped Paras Dogra before the wicket for 6. With four wickets down for 233, Bengal were bowling with their tails up.
Bengal took the new ball in the 80th over and Ashok Dinda showed why he is one of the most prolific wicket takers in domestic cricket. First he removed Khanduri batting on 95 and then got the wicket of Ankush Bains (27) to peg back HPCA.
Priyanshu was tad unlucky as despite his dour defence and controlled aggression the HPCA opener fell five short of his century. His innings lasted 238 balls with 11 boundaries and six. Shami came back in his second spell and removed Amit Kumar to reduce HPCA to 300 for 7. HPCA showed they still had some steam left in them as they delayed the inevitable with Siddharth Sharma played 39 balls for 1 before being trapped by Dinda. The eighth wicket stand consumed 16.4 overs that severely hurt Bengal’s chances of an outright win. The last two wickets were gobbled up in quick succession by Md Shami as HPCA innings folded up for 353.

Arindam Basu