Calcutta/Mumbai: Bengal qualified for the Syed Mustaq Ali Trophy Super League with an all-win record in the East Zone matches. On Tuesday, that pride was crushed under a seven-wicket defeat at the hands of Baroda, at the Bandra Kurla Complex ground, in Mumbai.
To put it simply, Bengal were humiliated in their opening match of the Super League. Nothing went right for Bengal. They began the day losing the toss and ended it with the embarrassment of their opponents winning the T20 encounter with six overs to spare. Such a win is no doubt very demoralising in format where most of the matches are decided in the last few overs.
It was actually the batsmen’s failure which hurt Bengal most. None of the batsmen managed a significant score as the team were bundled out for just 96. With a bowling attack that missed the experience of Laxmi Ratan Shukla and Ashok Dinda, defending such a total was like holding a porous umbrella to a heavy downpour.
Shukla and Dinda, along with Manoj Tiwary and Wriddhiman Saha, are busy training with their respective teams for IPL VII.
Tiwary and Saha’s absence made Bengal’s batting weak too as none could put up a resistance to Baroda bowlers Lukman Meriwala and Abhijit Karambelkar, who took three wickets each.
It was a complete failure from the Bengal batsmen as most of them ended with strike rates which were far below 100. That’s not very desirable in T20s.
Openers Abhishek Das (10) and Vivek Singh (10) shared just a 20-run partnership and thereafter, none of the others could rectify the situation. Sreevats Goswami (12), Sudeep Chatterjee (3), Pankaj Shaw (4) and Arnab Nandi (12) — all failed in their efforts.
When someone (Sanjib Sanyal) who has scored 13 is the top scorer of the team, it’s pretty easy to understand that it was a really bad day in office.
Baroda began the chase better as their openers managed 37. One of them, captain Aditya Waghmode, was the top scorer with 27 off 26. Deepak Hooda, with 24 not out of 17 balls, batted aggressively to see Baroda home.
None of the Bengal bowlers could do anything extraordinary, which was required to defend such a total. Aamir Gani was the best of the lot taking two for 28.
Saurashish Lahiri, who is captaining the Bengal team in Shukla’s absence, said his batsmen failed to adjust to the bounce and pace in the wicket. “The wicket had a lot of pace and bounce… When you get these sorts of wickets, the batsmen need to apply themselves.
“But we failed to do so. The batsmen just didn’t settle down at the wicket,” Lahiri said.