Assam played true to the form to defeat Jharkhand by six wickets but the biggest shock of the tournament was Bengal’s meek capitulation against zonal minnow Tripura by two wickets in the league matches of the East Zone leg of the Vijay Hazare Trophy here on Thursday.
Tripura, which had lost all previous three games, one with bonus point, made Bengal eat the humble pie in a low scoring game at the Jadavpur University Salt Lake ground.
Put in, Bengal folded up for 121 in 33.3 overs with only Anustup Majumdar coming up with 30 (49b, 4x4) on the face of some inspired spell from off-break bowler Udit Patel (four for 17).
Only Manoj Tiwary, Wriddhiman Saha and Laxmi Ratan Shukla entered double figures as three changes Bengal made, including giving Vivek Singh his first match, did not help the side at all.
Tripura had its problem in chasing down the low total but a quick-fire 32 by Gaurav Bhatia in the top order and a responsible unbeaten 34 by lower order Timir Chandra made all the difference.
Mohammad Shami’s fiery spell of three for 37 and veteran Sanjib Sanyal’s two for 16 went in vain.
Assam too put Jharkhand in to dismiss the latter for 116 in 41.2 overs.
Ishang Jaggi’s 27 in the top of the order and Sunny Gupta’s 26 in the lower order enabled the side to go past 100 in 38.2 overs.
Off-break Gokul Sharma was the best bowler on view with four for 32 in nine overs. Good support came from Arup Das (two for 26) and Pritam Das (two for 16).
Assam lost three top order batsmen for 44 runs.
But Gokul Sharma (27 n.o.) and Tajinder Singh (37, 52b, 5x4) stood the Jharkhand test well to add 69 runs for the fourth wicket in 91 balls to take the match away from Jharkhand.
With the last round matches coming up on Friday, Assam, with 15 points from three games, is through to the knockout round as the No. 1 team.
Bengal, which has seven points from three matches, will take on Assam in the final round match on Friday at the Eden Gardens.
A win will ensure Bengal’s passage to the next round.
A loss will give a chance to either Odisha (three points) or Jharkhand (three points) to move up provided either of the team won with bonus point.
Tripura finished the engagement with four points and is out of contention.
Jharkhand 116 in 41.2 overs (I. Jaggi 27, Sunny Gupta 26; Arup Das two for 26, Pritam Das two for 16, Gokul Sharma four for 32) lost to Assam 119 for four in 25.4 overs (Gokul Sharma 27 n.o., Tajinder Singh 37; Sunny Gupta two for 18). Points: Assam: 5; Jharkhand: -1.
Bengal 121 in 33.3 overs (Anustup Majumdar 30; Timir Chanda two for 19, Bunti Roy two for 41, Udit Patel four for 17) lost to Tripura 123 for eight in32.2 overs (Gaurav Bhatia 32, Timir Chandra 34 n.o., M. Shami three for 37, S. Sanyal two for 16). Points: Tripura: 5; Bengal: -1.