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Bengal’s turnaround

Calcutta: Bengal simply couldn’t have asked for a better turnaround.

After being handed a 136-run thrashing by Jharkhand the other day, Laxmi Ratan Shukla and Co. made a terrific comeback in the Vijay Hazare Trophy zonal round on Wednesday. They blew Tripura away by eight wickets in a match reduced to 45 overs-a-side, at the JSCA International Stadium Complex in Ranchi.

It was a convincing win for Bengal. For the time being, the victory certainly takes Bengal to a safer position in this zone, though they do need to beat Assam on Friday to ensure their qualification to the main round. At present, Bengal are second in the standings, two points behind table-toppers Jharkhand.

As was the case on Monday, Bengal lost the toss again and Tripura got off to a steady start with their openers putting on a 70-run stand. But Iresh Saxena’s tight bowling, which led to his double strike, removing Gaurav Bhatia and KB Pawan in quick succession, brought Bengal back on track.

Precisely, the quick dismissals of Bhatia and Pawan never really let Tripura recover as they began losing wickets at regular intervals from thereon. None of the other batsmen were able to provide any kind of support to Udiyan Bose (76), who fought a lone battle.

Ashok Dinda again had a good time with the ball, finishing with figures of three for 36, while Veer Pratap Singh, too, took two wickets along with Iresh. Captain Shukla and Sourashish Lahiri also took a wicket each as Bengal bundled Tripura out for just 199 in 44.1 overs.

In reply, Sreevats Goswami (84) and Wriddhiman Saha gave a brisk start, putting on 68.