Bengal survived a late assault by Uttar Pradesh’s Praveen Kumar to record its second consecutive Group B win in the Airtel Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 tournament at the Holkar Stadium on Wednesday.
The Laxmi Ratan Shukla-led side had seemed on course for victory when UP lost its seventh wicket for 91 in the 13th over while chasing 177.
However, Praveen Kumar suddenly launched a vicious attack to bring his team within 23 runs of the target with two overs remaining.
The all-rounder, however, failed to lead UP to victory, as only eight came off the next 12 balls.
An impressive stand of 98 off 55 deliveries between Wriddhiman Saha and Shukla had earlier guided Bengal to an imposing 176.
After openers Shreevats Goswami and Subhomoy Das’ partnership of 62 was broken in the ninth over, Saha arrived at the crease and went on to reach his half-century off 29 balls.
The wicketkeeper hit seven fours, with three of them and a six coming in UP captain Piyush Chawla’s last over.
Shukla joined in the fun clobbering a couple of sixes in the final over.
In the day’s other Group B match, defending champion Baroda was left facing the prospect of an early exit from the tournament after succumbing to a nine-wicket defeat to Punjab. Baroda has now lost both its matches so far.
Having decided to bat, skipper Aditya Waghmode began brightly hitting 30 off 15 balls before being dismissed in the fifth over.
Baroda could not recover from that blow and was bowled out for a meagre 126.
Punjab made short work of the target, as its openers Ravinder Singh and Mandeep Singh posted a century opening stand. Ravinder was dismissed with the side just eight runs short of the target.
The formality was completed in the following over and Mandeep’s team walked home with four points.
Unmukt stars for Delhi
In the Group A matches, Unmukt Chand hit his second successive hundred of the tournament to lead Delhi to a crushing 112-run win over Gujarat, while Umesh Yadav’s five-wicket haul helped Vidarbha to a 73-run victory over Odisha.
The scores: Group A: Delhi 198 for four in 20 overs (Unmukt Chand 125, Dhruv Shorey 25) bt Gujarat 86 in 17.3 overs (Sumit Narwal three for 15). Points: Delhi 4 (4), Gujarat 0 (4) .
Vidarbha 180 for eight in 20 overs (Ravi Jangid 63, Apoorv Wankhede 26, Basant Mohanty three for 30) bt Odisha 107 in 14.3 overs (Ankit Yadav 54 n.o., Umesh Yadav five for 18). Vidarbha 4, Odisha 0 (0) .
Group B: Bengal 176 for two in 20 overs (Shreevats Goswami 30, Subhomoy Das 38, Wriddhiman Saha 64 n.o., Laxmi Shukla 35 n.o.) bt Uttar Pradesh 162 for nine in 20 overs (Eklavya Dwivedi 34, Praveen Kumar 49 n.o.). Bengal 4 (8), UP 0 .
Baroda 126 in 18.5 overs (Aditya Waghmode 30, Amitoze Singh three for 15) lost to Punjab 132 for one in 14.4 overs (Ravinder Singh 69, Mandeep Singh 46 n.o.). Punjab 4 (4), Baroda 0 (0) .