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regular-article-logo Tuesday, 25 June 2024

Ranji Trophy: Bengal in control

Thanks to Shahbaz Ahmed’s brilliant performance (5/32), Bengal bundled Himachal Pradesh out for a paltry 130 for a big 180-run lead

A Staff Reporter Calcutta Published 22.12.22, 04:17 AM
Shahbaz Ahmed exults after grabbing a wicket in the Ranji Trophy tie versus Himachal Pradesh at the Eden on Wednesday.

Shahbaz Ahmed exults after grabbing a wicket in the Ranji Trophy tie versus Himachal Pradesh at the Eden on Wednesday. Picture by Santosh Ghosh

Manoj Tiwary’s ploy to hand over the new ball to Shahbaz Ahmed worked wonders for Bengal in this Ranji Trophy game at Eden Gardens.

Thanks to the left-arm spinner’s brilliant performance (5/32), Bengal bundled Himachal Pradesh out for a paltry 130 for a big 180-run lead.

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Thereafter in their second innings, their top-order batters ensured not to bungle again, taking the team total to 89 for 1 at stumps on Day 2. Bengal’s top three have shown better application and scored briskly so far in the second essay, with Abhishek Das (35) the only man to be dismissed.

Koushik Ghosh, the other opener, and No.3 Sudip Gharami are batting on 21 and 32, respectively. Already having extended their overall lead to 269, Bengal are firmly in control of the game and look set for a back-to-back win.

Bengal’s first innings ended at the overnight score of 310, with Anustup Majumdar (159) being the last man to fall in the second ball on Wednesday.

Tiwary brought Shahbaz in as early as the second over of Himachal’s first innings. In what was only his third ball, Shahbaz removed opened Raghav Dhawan and that was good enough to set him up for his first-ever five-for at the Eden.

Besides, the decision from Tiwary — who’s likely to continue leading Bengal in this Ranji Trophy — to bring Shahbaz into the attack so early did catch the Himachal batters by surprise. “I’m really thankful to Manojbhai for bringing me to bowl early on and I’m very happy to deliver for my team. We’ll look to add as much as possible tomorrow (Thursday) and take the game away from them,” Shahbaz said later.

Brief scores: Bengal 310 & 89/1. Himachal Pradesh 130 (P. Chopra 71 n.o.; S. Ahmed 5/32). At stumps, Day 2.

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