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Bengal loses plot in Nagpur
29th November 2016
Bengal lost their last six wickets for nine runs to fold their innings at 99 and virtually hand over the reins of the match to Mumbai on day-one of their Ranji Trophy Group A tie in Nagpur today. At stumps Mumbai further tightened the noose accumulating 164 runs for 5 wickets establishing a lead of 65 runs.
Bengal lost the toss and walked out to bat on a green top that was ready to show its mettle. The dye was cast so to say. None of the top order batsmen showed any craft, skill or temperament as Shardul wrecked havoc. Debutant Abhishek Raman with a defiant 21 and Sudip Chatterjee with 35 showed a semblence of character. Skipper Manoj Tiwary also departed at 11 reducing Bengal to 90 for 4.
However, no one had anticipated the collapse thereafter. Six wickets, 9 runs in 5.2 overs and Bengal was getting ready to field. Shardul returned with figures of six for 31 in 13 overs, with Dhawal Kulkarni bagging 3 for 22 in 10.3 overs. The fourth highest score in Bengal innings was notched up by extras given by Mumbai that accounted for 14 valuable runs to the total.
Bengal began the defence of the paltry total in right earnest, but Mumbai had other ideas. The wicket had suddenly turned placid and Mumbai raced to 50 in just the 8th over. J G Bista (26 off 26 deliveries) and Kaustav P (78) gave Mumbai a flying start, before the former was picked up by Amit Kuila. Shreyas Iyer was also scoring merrily reaching 28 off 40 balls before he was sent back by Ashoke Dinda. A late burst from Mukesh Kumar ensured that Kaustav and hard hitting Surya Yadav (8) to bring some hope back in the ranks.
At stumps skipper A P Tare and Dhawal Kulkarni were batting on 13 and 2 respectively.
However, none of the bowlers impressed giving away at around 4 runs per over. Tomorrow when the game begins it will be a battle for survival for Bengal.

Arindam Basu