Bengal go from bad to worse
Bengal lost to Pondicherry by four wickets in a Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy match on Sunday and as a result their hopes of reaching the knockout stage was over.
The match went into the last over, but seasoned campaigner R. Vinay Kumar’s six-ball 15 helped Pondicherry win with two balls two spare.
Batting first, Bengal scored 132/7 in 20 overs. Vivek Singh was the top scorer with 43. The Bengal middle-order collapsed once again. From 55/1 they crashed to 100/5 at one stage at the Bandra-Kurla Complex in Mumbai. Arnab Nandy’s late strike of unbeaten 21 helped the team to reach 132.
Pondicherry captain Rohit Damodaran played an innings of 55 that helped the team get a strong start. He hit five boundaries and four sixes. Despite a good start to the tournament, inconsistent performances hurt Bengal once again. They will take on Assam in their last league match on Monday.
Bengal’s coach cum mentor Arun Lal was unhappy with the team’s performance. “We are extremely disappointed, but couldn’t do anything more,” he said. “Only two players scored runs and others failed. But I would like to count the positives. Akash Deep and Shahbaz Ahamad bowled well. Hope they will continue the good work.
“We are going through a transition phase. It is not easy to perform for the senior level. Young players are coming in, it will take some time,” Lal said. “We still have some senior players in the team but they have past their prime,” he said. Lal feels lack of consistency remains a problem for Bengal.
Brief scores: Bengal 132/7 in 20 overs (Vivek Singh 43, Abhimanyu Easwaran 28; Suresh Kumar 4/17). Pondicherry 135/6 in 19.4 overs (Rohit Damodaran 55; Shahbaz Ahmed 2/16, Sayan Ghosh 2/34). Pondicherry won by four wickets.