Assam and Bengal registered contrasting victories in the opening round of the East Zone leg of the Vijay Merchant Trophy here on Thursday.
While it was a narrow 11-run win for Bengal against Odisha, Assam rode on Gokul Sharma’s all-round show to outplay Tripura to win by eight wickets and pocketed a bonus point.
At the JU ground, Bengal’s experimental opening pair of Saurasish Lahiri and Arindam Das failed to get going after being asked to bat. It scored just five off 15 balls against some sustained swing bowling by Basanta Mohanty and Dipak Behera. Once the partnership was broken by Mohanty, the young Sandipan Das, too, made his exit quickly.
Tiwari, Saha bat well
The experienced duo of Manoj Tiwary and Wriddhiman Saha took the score past 100 before Saha (36, 38b, 4x4, 1x6) fell at the score of 119. Ten runs later, Tiwary left after completing a fine half-century (55, 95b, 6x4, 1x6). Both batsmen fell to left-arm spinner Paresh Patel.
Only a 39-run stand for the eighth wicket between Anustup Majumdar and Mohammad Shami helped Bengal reach 186. Mohanty had outstanding figures of four for 22 off 11.1 overs.
Bengal removed the openers, Natraj Behera and Patel, quickly before Niranjan Behera and youngster Gobind Poddar added 72 for the third wicket to put Odisha back on course.
Ashoke Dinda had Niranjan taken by Arindam Das at second slip before Shukla trapped Poddar (44, 73b, 6x4) in front and bowled Haladhar Das neck and crop off the first ball he faced.
Captain Samantaray stood tall and was involved in two useful partnerships. However, Dinda removed Lagnajit Samal — his fourth wicket — and Shukla foxed and bowled Samantaray for 51 (64b, 8x4).
Shukla then cleaned up the tail to return with figures of five for 34 off 9.5 overs. Dinda finished with four for 48 as Odisha was bowled out for 175 in 41.5 overs.
Bengal 186 in 46.1 overs (M. Tiwary 55, W. Saha 36, Mohd. Shami 26, B. Mohanty four for 22) bt Odisha 175 in 41.5 overs (N. Behera 29, G. Poddar 44, B. Samantaray 51, A. Dinda four for 48, L.R. Shukla five for 34). Points: Bengal 4, Odisha 0 .
Tripura 109 in 37 overs (Ajay Ratra 28, G. Sharma four for 27) lost to Assam 110 for two in 23 overs (Pallav Das 40). Assam 5 Tripura minus 1 .