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Stunner: Assam beat Bengal

Assam upset favourites by carving out a nail-biting two-wicket win in the limited overs East Zone cricket tournament.

india Updated: Feb 17, 2006 23:05 IST

With Sourav Ganguly leading Bengal’s batting, then the bowling and at times fielding, it was difficult to predict a victory for Assam, a team that by its own confession lacked the confidence to win even a match.

But on Friday at the Nehru Stadium, Jealgora, it happened and the overtones of an upset were seen early.

Bengal lost the toss and batted first for the first time in the tournament. And as predicted, they looked in trouble. Even with the ball not coming on to the bat, they tried to play their shots and offered simple catches.

The in-form Subhomoy Das was bowled by one that came in. Abhishek Jhunjhunwala flicked one straight to the square-leg fielder. And Ganguly departed trying to lift one over mid-off. By the end of the 12th over, Bengal were reeling at 49 for three and all the wickets were taken by Mark Ingty.

Assam rested their opening bowler Krishna Das and brought in Ingty, who they’ve been neglecting for the last few years. Ingty had taken seven wickets for East in a Duleep Trophy match against Central in 2001-02.

But the Shillong medium pacer was dropped from the Assam team soon after. Their current coach Sanath Kumar has insisted that Ingty be brought back to the squad and given this chance to prove himself against an in-form Bengal, Ingty did make his mark.

The Ranji Trophy finalists needed someone to stay, a partnership to click. It came in the form of Manoj Tewari and Laxmi Ratan Shukla for the fourth wicket. But after adding just 26 runs, Shukla lost his cool and offered a low catch at mid-wicket.

Tewari followed just three runs later offering a return catch to Mriganko Talukdar. Sanjib Sanyal got out hitting an irresponsible shot and that was after he had called skipper Deep Dasgupta for a close second run and the latter was found short.

With these two gone Bengal had little option but to sacrifice medium pacer Ranadeb Bose and bring in supersub Kamal Hassan Mondal with Bengal on 113 for seven after 31 overs. And the absence of someone like Rohan Gavaskar was badly felt.

With Bose gone, Ganguly opened the bowling with Shib Sankar Paul. But needing to score at just three runs an over, the Assam openers Chandan Rawat and Parvez Aziz waited patiently. Sanyal got the breakthrough and then Assam kept losing wickets at regular intervals. Skipper Vasanth Sarvanan pushed himself down the order and when he came out, Assam were 59 for four. And as long he was there, Assam looked comfortable.

But a sudden rush of blood had him stumped. With still 29 runs left and four wickets in hand, Bengal once again were back in the match. But some wide deliveries by Paul gave away some easy runs. And with Anand Katty hitting one to the long-on boundary for the wining runs, the fight for the top two berths was thrown open.

In the other match, Orissa recorded their first win defeating Tripura by 16 runs. Now as things stand, Bengal have to win their last match against Orissa to secure a final-round berth. The other match between Jharkhand and Assam, both on eight points, will decide the other qualifier.

Scoreboard

Bengal

Das b Ingty 20, Ganguly c Talukdar b Ingty 12, Jhunjhunwala c Bordoloi b Ingty 1, Tewari c & b Talukdar 24, Shukla c Arun Kumar b Talukdar 10, Dasgupta run out (Katty) 14, Sanyal c Arun Kumar b Katty 8, Lahiri b Konwar 14, Mondal not out 15, Singh lbw Katty 21, Paul c Sarvanan b Konwar 1

Extras (lb 1, w 10) 11

Total (all out in 45.1 overs) 151

Fall of wickets: 1-30, 2-35, 3-49, 4-75, 5-78, 6-73, 7-113, 8-113, 9-150.

Bowling: Sujay Tarafdar 8-0-46-0, Mark Ingty 9-1-28-3, Mrigen Talukdar 9-0-30-2, Anand Katty 10-0-23-2, Arlen Konwar 9.1-2-23-2.

Assam

Rawat c Lahiri b Sanyal 12, Aziz c Kamal b Singh 25, Bordoloi lbw Sanyal 0, Kumar c Sanyal b Paul 4, Talukdar lbw Shukla 20, Sarvanan st Dasgupta b Lahiri 34, Sharma c & b Singh 21, Saikia lbw Paul 7, Katty not out 8, Ingty not out 0. Extras (lb7, w8, nb6) 21

Total (for 8 wkts in 48.1 overs) 152

Fall of wickets: 1-25, 2-25, 3-30, 4-59, 5-73, 6-123, 7-134, 8-147.

Bowling: Ganguly 8.1-0-31-0, Paul 10-3-18-2, Sanyal 6-1-23-2, Lahiri 10-1-30-1, Laxmi 4-0-14-1, SS Singh 10-0-25-2.

First Published: Feb 17, 2006 21:23 IST