Bengal under pressure on Day I
Grudge ties for Punjab teams
Sana reaches third round
Semi-finalists identified

Calcutta, Feb. 5: 
Bengal 277/7

The youngsters showed the way when the experienced and senior pros failed to deliver. Subhomoy Das and Sanjib Sanyal stitched together a 176-run sixth wicket stand to give some respectability to the Bengal total on the opening day of the Ranji Trophy quarter final tie versus Gujarat.

The star-studded Bengal top-order fell apart in the opening session as Lalit Patel made optimum use of the conditions. The advantage of winning the toss was blown away by some indiscreet shot selection until Das and Sanyal came together.

Sanyal�s unbeaten 109 (152 balls, 16x4) was a just reward for his determination and fighting qualities, while Das (77 off 173 balls, 11x4) missed out on what would have been a well-deserved second consecutive century.

The morning session was nightmarish for the hosts. Deep Dasgupta paid for chasing a delivery outside the off-stump without getting into position. Debutant Amitava Chakraborty and Devang Gandhi were disturbed by the awkward bounce and when it seemed Rohan Gavaskar and Sourav Ganguly would do the repairing job, the Bengal skipper fell to a poor decision by umpire S.V. Ramani.

Bhavin Mehta�s delivery struck Rohan high on the pads before hitting his bat. Rohan made his displeasure clear while making his way back to the dressing room after being adjudged leg-before.

Sourav (36 off 76 balls, 5x4) � accompanied by machine gun-totting commandos and sleuths in plainclothes at the Eden Gardens � looked to be in good touch. He was playing safe, not missing the singles. The Gujarat bowling had, in fact, very little variation and penetration to trouble him.

The ploy of having a predominantly packed off-side field paid off after lunch when the Indian skipper�s mistimed drive landed in the hands of short extra-cover. It was a good catch and reduced Bengal to 91 for five. Things hardly looked encouraging at that stage.

Das and Sanyal, who had made their debut this season, batted in contrasting fashion to ease the pressure. Sanyal showed a lot of guts by giving the Gujarat bowlers the charge from the outset. Besides the flowing drives on both sides of the wicket, he was not afraid to go over the top whenever the opportunity came.

Sanyal was not made available to the media and coach Woorkeri Raman and CAB joint-secretary Bablu Kolay said it was the team�s decision to keep the players away during the course of the game.

His strokeful innings took the sting out of the rival bowling and was enough to upset their rhythm. He slowed down once he approached the nervous nineties. While his first 50 came off only 45 balls, the next took 92. He completed his century with a pull to the mid-wicket fence.

The partnership, which lasted 279 balls, also flourished through some good running between the wickets. It proved so frustrating that at one point after the tea break, the visitors bowled a negative line to restrict the flow of runs.

Das, on the other hand, showed good temperament. He was content with playing second fiddle during the association.

Gujarat managed to make a couple of breakthroughs once the second new ball was taken after 82 overs. Lalit Patel came back to claim his fourth wicket as Das held his bat out to an away swinger to be caught at second slip.

Utpal Chatterjee fell to an atrocious shot two overs later, and the young lower-order batsmen will have to perform really well to take Bengal close to 350 tomorrow. That would give them some chance in their first quarter final appearance since 1997-98 (not as mentioned in these columns Tuesday).


New Delhi, Feb. 5: 
The 12-team quarter final league of the 114th Allwyn Durand Cup kicks off tomorrow with JCT meeting Indian Telephone Industries (ITI) and Salgaocar taking on Punjab Police.

The teams from Punjab will try to prove a point in both games, keeping in mind Punjab Police�s 0-2 defeat against Salgaocar in the National League and JCT�s 0-1 setback versus ITI in the same tournament.

The AIFF has ruled that each team will be allowed to register and field four foreigners. ITI have registered four Nigerians, including the Poland-based Mike Okoro and left out striker Kenneth Onu who is injured.

Defender Johan Ugwa, striker George Ekeh and Ghanaian midfielder Mohammed Salisu are the other foreigners in the ITI ranks who also have international goalkeeper N. Balaji and former junior internationals Amandeep Singh, Raghui Singh and Zaheer Abbas.

JCT coach Sukhwinder Singh, whose team is not doing well in the National League, said this was a chance for his team to regroup and rediscover form. JCT will rely on striker Hardip Gill, the top Indian marksman in the National League so far with five goals, and veteran Nigerian Stephen Abarowei.

Salgaocar coach Savio Madeira will get a chance to see new Nigerian striker Oscar Zaire along with international Alvito D�Cunha up front. The other foreigners in his team are Nigerian defender Majek Baloji and Liberians Euegene Gray and Sunday Seah.

Punjab Police�s assistant coach Narinder Kumar, who scored the match-winners in the 1987 and 1992 Durand finals for his former club JCT, said they were also trying out some new players in this tournament.

Mohun Bagan and East Bengal are expected to reach the Capital tomorrow.


Calcutta, Feb. 5: 
Things went according to seedings on the second day of the Bharat Petroleum ITF junior meet at DKS today.

In the only second-round singles match of the day, third seeded Sana Bhambri beat local wild card Shivika Burman 6-0, 6-1.

Of the eight girls singles first-round ties, just one went the distance where Hsu Win-Shin of Chinese Taipei overcame Sandra Sasidharan 1-6, 6-0, 6-3.

In boys doubles, the local pair of Rupesh Roy and Sabyasachi Bose went down fighting to Saurabh Kohli and Rishi Behl. The third seeds won 4-6, 6-3, 6-1.

In a minor upset, girls� fourth seeds Nandita Chandrasekhar and Sandra Sasidharan lost 4-6, 6-7 (2-7) to the Chinese pair of Rui Du and Sheng-Sun Sun.


GIRLS, first round: Krushmi Chheda (Ind, 8) bt Swathika Kandaswamy (Ind) 6-1, 6-3; Nandita Chandrasekhar (Ind, 5) bt Sharanya Pattabi (Ind) 6-4, 6-2; Sheng-Sun Sun (Chn) bt Rifat Sharzin Hossain (Ban) 6-1, 6-0; Yan-Hung Chen (Chn) bt Asha Nanda Kumar (Ind) 6-0, 6-1; Ariana Stefanie Maya Rosa (Ina, 4) bt Tanya Ahuja (Ind) 6-1, 6-1; Swetha Devraj (Ind) bt Hina Valecha (Ind) 6-2, 6-2; Hsu Win-Shin (Tpe) bt Sandra Sasidharan (Ind) 1-6, 6-0, 6-3; Isha Lakhani (Ind) bt Yung Jan-Chan 7-6 (7-4), 6-1 (Tpe) 7-6 (7-4), 6-1;

2nd round: Sana Bhambri (Ind, 3) bt Shivika Burman 6-0, 6-1.


Calcutta, Feb. 5: 
McLeods, Kankaria Group, J. Thomas and Deutsche Bank entered the semi-finals of the 48th Merchants� Cup squash today.

RESULTS: 1st round: Bakers Square bt Tata Tea 3-0; ITC w/o HSBC; Indal bt Citibank 3-0. 2nd round: McLeods bt Bakers Square 2-1; Kankaria Group bt Tata Steel 2-1; J. Thomas bt Indal 3-0; Deutsche Bank bt ITC 3-0.

Volleyball league

Bijoyee Sangha overcame Eastern Railway SA 25-16, 28-26, 25-13 in the first division group A men�s volleyball league today.

Other RESULTS: Rajasthan bt Naihati AC 25-19, 22-25, 25-22, 25-17; WB Police bt Chhatra Samity 33-31, 25-20, 25-17.

Sub-junior cricket

Bournvita CA and Chandranath Chatterjee MCC won their matches in the all-Bengal sub-junior meet.


Bournvita CA 186 (Arjun Roy 56, Arnab Dey 3/46). Sodepur CCC 117 (Soumen Das 36; Tuhin Sil 3/25) Bournvita won 69 runs.

Bharati Milan Sangha 100 (D. Mishra 37). Chandranath Chatterjee MCC 101/2 (M. Das 36). Chandranath MCC won by 8 wkts.


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