Calcutta: Jharkhand followed Bengal to the Super League of the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 tournament, from East Zone, here on Saturday, pipping Assam and Odisha to the post by virtue of a better net run rate.
With an impressive eight-wicket win over Assam at the Jadavpur University Salt Lake Campus ground, Jharkhand were on eight points, the same as Assam and Odisha. But their quick-fire chase on Saturday helped them to a net run rate of +0.253, which was better than that of Assam (-0.307) and Odisha (-0.391). Bengal topped the table with four wins from four matches, earning 16 points.
Having restricted Assam, who chose to bat, to 127 for eight, Jharkhand rushed to the target with 22 balls to spare, scoring 128 for two in 16.2 overs.
Captain Saurabh Tiwary, coming in at his preferred No. 4 slot, came good and struck a 21-ball unbeaten 36, with two huge sixes and two boundaries. The tone for the chase was set by openers Ishank Jaggi and Ishan Kishan. Jaggi, who scored a run-a-ball 13 with two boundaries, however, did not last long, falling to Pritam Das while trying to hit a lofted one that went down the throat of Syed Mohammed.
The other opener Kishan scored a delightful 35-ball 48, studded with six boundaries. The left hander looked to be at ease against all the bowlers, and used the batsman-friendly wicket to the hilt. It was pacer Arup Das who finally bowled him, but by then the Jharkhand innings had got the impetus it needed. The score at that point was 73 for two. With Tiwary joining Virat Singh at the crease, they just pressed the accelerator harder and left Assam with little chance.
Earlier, young left-arm spinner Sarfaraj Ashraf scalped three, giving away only 22 runs. Two run outs did not help the northeast team’s cause and Jharkhand batsmen, looking not only for four points but also to keep the run rate in the positive, played their role to perfection.
Assam 127/8 in 20 overs (P. Aziz 24; S. Ashraf 3/22). Jharkhand 128/2 in 16.2 overs (I. Kishan 48, S. Tiwary 36 not out). Jharkhand won by 8 wickets