Calcutta: The start, perhaps, couldn’t have been any better for Bengal.
A clinical 44-run victory over Assam in their opening match of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, at the Eden, on Tuesday, will give Bengal the confidence for tougher challenges ahead.
Importantly, the win was a result of team effort, not individual brilliance, something that augurs really well for Bengal.
Captain Laxmi Ratan Shukla struck an unbeaten 53 to be the top scorer. But it was Arnab Nandi’s cameo (28 runs off just 9 balls) towards the end and opener Vivek Singh’s (28 off 15 balls) contribution at the top that enabled Bengal reach 161 for four on a pitch where the ball wasn’t quite coming on to the bat.
Together, Shukla and Arnab shared an unbroken 38-run stand, amassing 35 from the last two overs.
No wonder Shukla was all praise for Arnab. “His innings was a match-turning one. I’m really pleased with the kind of shots Arnab produced.
“It was really a treat to watch from the other endů It’s a big positive for us going into the next matches,” he said.
Later, debutant Amir Gani (3/18) spun a web, while Sourashish Lahiri and Ashok Dinda grabbed two each as Assam were dismissed for 117 in 20 overs.
Gani’s show reflected that he had certainly gained from the Muttiah Muralidharan-conducted camp. The rival batsmen were very much in two minds over how to tackle the 17-year-old spinner.
Dheeraj Jadhav (38) was Assam’s top scorer. Getting no support from the other end, the seasoned campaigner was dismissed off the bowling of Arnab after which, victory was just a formality for Bengal.