Rajasthan scraped past Bengal in a super league match of the BCCI T20 tournament for the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy at the MCA-BKC Recreation Centre here on Wednesday.
In the second encounter of the day, left-arm seamer Lukman Meriwala (five for 23) shone in Baroda’s 16-run victory over Delhi.
Bengal, missing the services of Laxmi Ratan Shukla, Manoj Tiwary, Wriddhiman Saha and Ashoke Dinda, did not have the wherewithal to pursue a far-from-challenging target of 138. Once the lanky, left-handed opener Vivek Singh (48, 40b, 3x4, 3x6) was dismissed after making the highest score of the match, the East side fell apart against the accurate left-arm spinner Gajendra Singh and seamer Rituraj Singh.
The second defeat, in as many matches, in the five-team super league has virtually ruled out Bengal out of contention, but Rajasthan will carry the confidence gained from the 14-run win into its next outing against Kerala.
Rajasthan owed its win to stand-in skipper Rajesh Bishnoi. His 18-ball cameo (36, 4x4, 1x6) stopped off-spinner Saurasish Lahiri’s wicket-taking streak. Bowling his first over — the team’s 14th — Lahiri dismissed Ankit Lamba, Puneet Yadav and Naresh Gehlot to reduce Rajasthan to 69 for five from 68 for two at the beginning of that over.
Bengal had an opportunity to pile on the agony for Rajasthan, but wicket-keeper Shreevats Goswami, standing close to the stumps, spilled a straightforward chance offered by Aditya Garhwal (on two) in the next over sent down by seamer Sandipan Das.
This turned out to be costly as Bishnoi and Garhwal’s enterprising stand of 41 for the sixth wicket brought Rajasthan back into the contest.
The Central Zone qualifier scored 65 off the last six overs, with Bishnoi’s big shots contributing more than half of that total.
“Pankaj Singh hurt his ankle during practice and hence Bishnoi led the team. It was just a precautionary measure to rest him and Pankaj has not been ruled out of the tournament,” said Pradeep Sundaram, the Rajasthan coach.
Baroda has eight points from two games while Kerala and Rajasthan have four from one match each.
The scores: Rajasthan 137 for nine in 20 overs (Ankit Lamba 37, Divya Pratap Singh 30, Rajesh Bishnoi 36, Aditya Garhwal 20, Sourav Mondal two for 23, Sanjib Sanyal two for 30, Saurasish Lahiri three for 28, Sandipan Das two for 22) bt Bengal 123 for seven in 20 overs (Vivek Singh 48, Rituraj Singh two for 11, Gajendra Singh three for 14). Points: Rajasthan 4, Bengal 0.
Baroda 131 for six in 20 overs (Aditya Waghmode 30, Krunal Pandya 22 n.o.) bt Delhi 115 for nine in 20 overs (Jagrit Anand 54, Yogesh Nagar 31, Lukman Meriwala five for 23, Munaf Patel two for 10. Krunal Pandya two for 17). Baroda 4, Delhi 0.