| Devang gandhi: Well-made 80
Agartala: The dream-run that started in Siliguri doesn’t seem to end. Bengal almost ensured themselves a place in the national one-day meet when they beat arch-rivals Orissa by 24 runs in the East Zone championship at the M.B.B. Stadium Thursday.
With this victory, Bengal have won all three matches and the next match against minnows Tripura seem to be a mere formality.
The hosts have lost all three games they have played so far.
Winning the toss and batting first, Bengal put up 266 for six in 50 overs. Devang Gandhi (80) once again came good while comeback opener Nikhil Haldipur (53) also did a commendable job.
The two put on 115 for the second wicket after opener Aurijit Bose failed, getting out for 13. Devang and Nikhil batted with authority and put up the runs in quick time (24 overs) against a quality Orissa attack comprising former Indian paceman Debashish Mohanty. Mohanty returned figures of two for 48.
After the partnership between Nikhil and Devang was broken, Bengal lost three quick wickets, stuttering to 199 for five. But in the late overs, Deep Dasgupta (46 off 47 balls) and Laxmi Ratan Shukla (27 off 16 balls) added some vital runs.
They smashed 50 off five overs giving Bengal the necessary momentum towards the end.
Off-spinner Rakesh Mohanty purchased some respect conceding 40 runs and taking three wickets off his quota off 10 overs.
Orissa started off well with B.B.C.C. Mahapatra and P. Jaychandra, as they put up 39 runs off the first seven overs.
But medium-pacer Ranadeb Bose struck at the right time removing Jaychandra for 19. Mahapatra, on the other hand, was looking quite dangerous when wily Utpal Chatterjee had him caught for 57 off 55 balls.
Rashmi Ranja Parida (49) and Prabhanjan Mullick (51) played quite well, but once they got out, it was a battle uphill for Orissa. Laxmi, who had quite a superb run in the series, fittingly wrapped things up dismissing Sanjay Sathpathi in the 49th over.
Assam suffer third loss
Assam had a dismal end to the tournament going down by 21 runs to Bihar at the Polytechnic ground. They completed their engagement with three losses, the one-off win coming against Tripura.
Bihar put up 219 in 50 overs, M.S. Dhoni (88) and N. Ranjan (39) being the highest scorers. Chasing 220, Assam were bundled out for 197 in 47.1 overs, with Zakaria Zuffry making 86.
BRIEF SCORES: Bihar 219 in 50 overs (M.S. Dhoni 88; Khanin Saikia 3/20; Dhiraj Goswami 3/38). Assam 197 in 47.1 overs (Zakaria Zuffry 86; Mihir Diwakar 3/30; Shashi Ranjan 3/37) Bihar won by 21 runs.