Calcutta: A defeat at the hands of Tripura and that too, by conceding a bonus point, is something Bengal could never imagine, even in their worst of nightmares.
However, Bengal’s batting, which has been susceptible throughout the season, hit its nadir on Thursday at the JU Salt Lake Campus ground, allowing Tripura to eke out a two-wicket victory and finish their Vijay Hazare Trophy zonal leg campaign on a positive note.
To acquire a bonus point, Tripura had to chase down Bengal’s paltry 121 in 40 overs. They suffered hiccups, losing wickets at regular intervals as Bengal bowlers, led by pacer Shami Ahmed (three for 37) and Sanjib Sanyal (two for 16) tried their best to make up for the batsmen’s callousness.
However, the all-round efforts of Timir Chanda (34 not out) ensured Tripura had at least one victory to show, as he smashed Manoj Tiwary for a boundary to bring up the winning runs with 17.4 overs to spare.
Bengal got it wrong right from the toss. On a pitch conducive to bowlers early on, rival captain Ajay Ratra called correctly and had no hesitation in opting to field.
From thereon, there was no looking back for Tripura.
After being reduced to eight for two, it was up to the in-form Tiwary to consolidate. All he needed was a little bit of support from Jayojit Basu, but all the youngster could do was wobble to scoring just six runs surrendering tamely to Chanda.
The otherwise consistent Wriddhiman Saha, too, didn’t last long as it was left to Anustup Majumdar (30) and Shukla to do the repair work. Tripura’s Udit Patel (four for 17) broke that partnership.