G. Viswanath

Vadodara: Shreevats Goswami (149 not out) and Cheteshwar Pujara (110) delivered two contrasting centuries for their respective sides at the Moti Bagh Palace here on Thursday in the Vijay Hazare Trophy quarterfinal between Bengal and Saurashtra.

Nearly 14 months after he bid adieu from international cricket, Sourav Ganguly turned out to be a hit with the bat scoring an 83-ball 87. Arindham Das's departure in the 11th over, after Bengal began the 255-run chase in a rousing fashion, brought the former India captain to the middle.

Ganguly danced down the wicket to send the ball soaring for five sixes and drove and cut fiercely on five occasions for the ball to race to the fence. But clearly the honours of the day belonged to the 20-year-old left-hander Goswami.

Exquisite shots

He showed his natural flair for shot production that rattled the Saurashtra bowlers. He led Bengal to a triumphant march into the semifinal of the tournament where it will take on Karnataka on Saturday.

Goswami produced an array of strokes, stemming from exact timing against the seamers and spinners alike. He struck 11 fours, majority of them bisecting the fielders, but it was his skill and power to send the ball clear of the line by many metres that reflected his grasp of the situation and assessment of the bowlers. He held centrestage for 11 minutes short of three hours, faced 138 balls and was one run short of 150, when Ganguly, after a two-hour stay, smashed a parallel six straight over off-spinner Kamlesh Makwana. It turned out to be the winning shot.

“He (Goswami) did not play a Ranji Trophy match this season. He has the potential to make it big, provided he's consistent. He is also a wicketkeeper,'' said Ganguly.

Pujara hits century

Earlier, Saurashtra, put in, drew strength from Pujara's 112-ball 110 with 10 fours and one six that once again underlined the right-hander's undiminished enthusiasm and objective to score heavily at every opportunity. It was a dutiful enterprise that would have earned him high marks from purists for method, style and classical execution of shots.

The scores:

Saurashtra: C. Pathak c Saha b Bose 9, S. Jogiyani lbw b Lahiri 71, J. Shah c & b Shukla 9, C. Pujara b Shukla 110, S. Kotak (run out) 24, P. Mehta b Dinda 19, R. Dhruv (not out) 2, K. Makwana b Shukla 0; Extras (b-1, lb-1, nb-1, w-8): 11. Total (for seven wkts. in 50 overs): 255.

Fall of wickets: 1-22, 2-51, 3-151, 4-209, 5-243, 6-255, 7-255.

Bengal bowling: Bose 10-1-37-1, Dinda 10-0-65-1, Shukla 10-0-35-3, Ganguly 5-0-26-0, Lahiri 10-0-62-1, Nandi 2-0-11-0, Jhunjhunwala 3-0-17-0

Bengal: A. Das c Kotak b Jobanputra 18, S. Goswami (not out) 149, S. Ganguly (not out) 87; Extras (w-2): 2. Total (for one wkt. in 40.5 overs): 256.

Fall of wicket: 1-60

Saurashtra bowling: Udankat 10-1-51-0, Jobanputra 7-0-48-1, Odedara 10-0-56-0, Makwana 9.5-0-66-0, Dhruv 4-0-35-0 .

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