Rewind to the matches
The Bihar team last Thursday defeated Uttarakhand by five wickets after winning the toss and opting to field. Uttarakhand posted 160 runs for the loss of 10 wickets in 43.2 overs. Anunay Singh and Samar Quadri were the successful bowlers for Bihar, picking up three wickets each.
The Bihar team reached the target in 37.3 overs with five wickets remaining. Wicketkeeper-batsman Vikash Ranjan scored 79 runs off 102 balls with nine boundaries. Keshav Kumar supported Vikash, scoring 33 off 40 balls.
The day before that, Bihar marked a winning return to the domestic tournament with an eight-wicket win over Nagaland in a Plate Group match of the Vijay Hazare Trophy.
Bihar defeated the northeastern team reaching the target of 254 runs with 38 balls to spare and eight wickets in hand. In the victory against Nagaland, Babul Kumar, who is playing for Bihar after getting a no-objection certificate (NOC) from Jharkhand, scored 121 runs off 119 balls with 15 boundaries and a six with a strike rate of 101.68.
The Nagaland team had elected to bat, scoring 253 for the loss of eight wickets.
An official of the Bihar Cricket Association (BCA) who had gone to Gujarat with the Bihar team said: “The Nagaland team electing to bat first made a solid foundation. The openers N. Lochab and S. Rupero played brilliantly hitting Anunay Singh and Pragyan Ojha all over the park. We were scared that the opponent team will post a big score.”
The two players posted 115 in 20 overs. In the 21st over, Bihar got its first success with Samar Quadri taking the wicket of Lochab. In the same over, S Rupero too returned to the pavilion with Babul taking an easy catch off Quadri.
Bihar, which made a return to domestic cricket after a gap of nearly 18 years, has registered two consecutive wins in the Vijay Hazare Trophy being played in Gujarat. Last Thursday, Bihar trounced Uttarakhand and a day before that the team beat Nagaland.
The players from the state are jubilant with Bihar’s performance.
“The way Bihar players are playing the game reminds me of the old days when Bihar had some good players,” said former Ranji trophy player Amikar Dayal. “During the mid-eighties, we had Ramesh Saxena, known as the finest batsman against spinners. His batting style was classic. Similarly, after Ramesh we had players such as Saba Karim, the wicketkeeper-batsman who played several matches for Team India.”
Bihar Cricket Association officials, naturally, are happy.
“We are happy with our team’s consecutive wins, but we have to move a long way to reach the quarter-final,” said BCA general-secretary Ravi Shankar Prasad Singh. “We have to win six matches. Also, our next match against Pondicherry is tough as it is one of the strong teams in the group.”
Bihar, which was in cricketing exile for 18 years, had produced former Team India batsman Subrota Banerjee, who is presently the coach of the Bihar team for the Vijay Hazare Trophy. MS Dhoni, the former Team India captain, used to play for Bihar before Jharkhand got its separate cricket association.
Babul Kumar Telegraph picture