| ROHAN GAVASKAR: Leading from front
Agartala: Bengal romped to a 65-run victory in the second match of the East Zone one-dayers against Bihar at the Polytechnic Ground Tuesday. With this win, Bengal and Orissa have won both their matches and the stage is set for the showdown between the two teams Thursday.
Only one team from the zone qualifies for the all-India meet.
After being put in by rival captain R. Kumar, Bengal piled up 250 for six in the allotted overs, with captain Rohan Gavaskar scoring an unbeaten 101 off 143 balls. This augurs well for the team before the crunch game, as all the batsmen have been among runs. Devang Gandhi had earlier made a brilliant 164 in the game against Assam.
On a wicket not quite suitable for batting, Bengal were off to a cautious start. Opener Nikhil Haldipur finally fired, scoring 51 (84 balls, 8x4). Aurijit Bose (11) did not contribute much, but he was involved in a 60-run partnership with Haldipur for the first wicket in 16.3 overs.
After Devang got out early for 10, it was left to Rohan to carry the innings through. He, however, got some good support in the form of talented middle-order batsman Subhamoy Das (32) and Deep Dasgupta (21). With Subhamoy, the captain put up 65 while with Deep, he was involved in a 66-run partnership.
The Bengal innings was given a boost in the last six overs as they scored 50 runs off them.
For Bihar, S. Ranjan (three for 32) was the only bowler to make some sort of an impact.
Bihar were never up to it, losing wickets at regular intervals. Only opener M.S. Dhoni put up some resistance, scoring 74 (95 balls, 6x4, 1x6). But good captaincy by Rohan brought an end to Dhoni’s innings. He brought in change bowler Devang in the 35th over and he immediately obliged removing the set batsman. After Dhoni fell, it was a battle uphill for Bihar and they were dismissed for 185 in 43.5 overs.
Medium-pacer Laxmi Ratan Shukla (four for 34) was the wrecker-in-chief for Bengal. Left-arm spinner Utpal Chatterjee was his usual miserly self, with two for 28 off nine overs.
Alokendu to join team
The Bengal team will be joined by opener Alokendu Lahiri for the ongoing meet. He will be leaving for Agartala on Wednesday. The CAB authorities informed that some of the players of the team are indisposed.
“Moyanko Chakraborty, Shibshankar Paul are suffering from fever and the team management had asked for further reinforcements. So, we decided to send the Tollygunge player as the 15th member,” an official informed.