Cricket

Shukla helps Bengal lift Hazare trophy

MATCH-WINNING KNOCK: Bengal's Laxmi Ratan Shukla came up with an unbeaten century to guide his team to victory in the Vijay Hazare Tophy tournament. Photo: Sandeep Saxena

MATCH-WINNING KNOCK: Bengal's Laxmi Ratan Shukla came up with an unbeaten century to guide his team to victory in the Vijay Hazare Tophy tournament. Photo: Sandeep Saxena   | Photo Credit: Sandeep Saxena

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This is the team's first-ever success in the tournament

Bengal rode on Laxmi Ratan Shukla's sparkling all-round performance to record a convincing six-wicket win over Mumbai and clinch its first-ever Vijay Hazare Trophy at the Ferozeshah Kotla ground here on Monday.

Shukla, who had not been included in the East Zone squad for the Deodhar Trophy, made a statement by claiming four wickets and restricting Mumbai to 248 and then scoring a brilliant unbeaten century (106 n.o., 90b, 12x4, 2x6) to ensure a memorable victory for Bengal.

Rewarded

He was rewarded for his effort by being inducted in the zonal team in place of Kumar Debrath of Jharkhand.

Mumbai, which decided to bat first, was off to a flying start thanks to the rollicking strokeplay of Wasim Jaffer (61, 48b, 10x4, 1x6). The seasoned opener showed his class by unleashing some effortless shots and leaving the Bengal bowlers clueless.

Jaffer, who hit left-arm spinner Iresh Saxena for three impeccable fours off consecutive balls followed by a six to collect 19 runs in the ninth over, reached his half-century in the 10th over.

Jaffer along with Ajinkya Rahane had put on 83 off 77 balls for the opening stand before falling to Shukla.

Disciplined effort

Shukla showed discipline to complete his three-wicket burst in his first spell of seven overs, which cost just 17 runs. He had Rahane caught behind and then hit the pads of Anup Revandkar in quick succession to bring Bengal back into the contest.

The Mumbai batsmen became too cautious as the side managed only 12 runs and lost two wickets in the second PowerPlay (17-21 overs).

Surya Yadav (50, 68b, 7x4) and Aditya Tare (35, 39b, 2x4) tried to boost Mumbai's score, but some soft dismissals did not help its cause.

Useful partnership

When Bengal batted, Sreevats Goswami (42, 73b, 3x4) and captain Sourav Ganguly (38, 53b, 6x4) steadied the ship after the early loss of Subhamoy Das.

Goswami batted with maturity to add 68 runs with Ganguly, who ignored his fatigue of bowling 10 overs and executed some well-timed stokes on both sides of the wicket.

However, it was Shukla who stole the show. He played watchfully to rotate the strike and showed little sympathy for the loose deliveries. He reached his half-century off just 47 balls and raised the tempo to reach his deserving century, his fourth in List ‘A' and second of the season, in 87 balls. He struck two spectacular sixes in his superb innings.

Able partner

Shukla found an able partner in Anustup Majumdar (50 not out, 45b, 7x4) who put a price on his wicket and let the senior batsman dictate the course of the match. The two gathered 107 runs for the unfinished fifth wicket.

“This is one of my best knocks because it has resulted in a win for us,” said Shukla. He said batting at No. 4 helped him. “By batting up the order you get to play more number of deliveries.”

Bengal coach W.V. Raman hailed Shukla's performance. “It is an outstanding effort. He scripted something which he could not have written better.”

“We (me and Ganguly) had discussed about sending Shukla at No. 4. There was no point keeping him till the last,” said Raman.

Raman also praised Majumdar's useful innings under pressure and the overall good showing with the bat by Wriddhiman Saha.

Cash awards

Meanwhile, Cricket Association of Bengal president Jagmohan Dalmiya announced in Kolkata that cash awards would be given to the Bengal team members.

Each player and the coach would be given Rs. 1 lakh while the support staff each would get by Rs. 50,000.

He said the five Bengal players who played for East Zone in the Duleep Trophy would also be given Rs. 1 lakh each.

The scores:

Mumbai: Wasim Jaffer b Shukla 61, Ajinkya Rahane c Goswami b Shukla 24, Anup Revandkar lbw b Shukla 15, Surya Kumar Yadav c Saha b Sarkar 50, Abhishek Nayar (run out) 11, Iqbal Abdulla c D. Das b Nandi 1, Aditya Tare b Shami 35, Ajit Agarkar lbw b Saxena 13, Ankit Chavan (not out) 15, Dhawal Kulkarni c Nandi b Shami 10, Kshemal Waingankar b Shukla 1; Extras (lb-2, w-10): 12; Total (in 49.2 overs): 248.

Fall of wickets: 1-83, 2-98, 3-108, 4-157, 5-158, 6-183, 7-219, 8-231, 9-243.

Bengal bowling: Mohd. Shami 9-0-41-2, Sourav Sarkar 10-1-48-1, Sourav Ganguly 10-0-48-0, Iresh Saxena 8-0-56-1, L.R. Shukla 9.2-1-38-4, Arnab Nandi 3-0-15-1.

Bengal: Srivats Goswami (run out) 42, Subhamoy Das lbw b Agarkar 0, Sourav Ganguly c & b Revandkar 38, Laxmi Ratan Shukla (not out) 106, Wriddhiman Saha c Agarkar b Abdulla 11, Anustup Majumdar (not out) 50; Extras (lb-3, w-1, nb-1): 5; Total (for four wkts. in 46.1 overs): 252.

Fall of wickets: 1-1, 2-69, 3-104, 4-145.

Mumbai bowling: Ajit Agarkar 9.1-1-40-1, Dhawal Kulkarni 8-0-47-0, Kshemal Waingankar 9-0-47-0, Anup Revandkar 6-0-27-1, Ankit Chavan 6-0-34-0, Iqbal Abdulla 8-0-54-1.

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Printable version | Dec 9, 2019 11:49:43 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/cricket/shukla-helps-bengal-lift-hazare-trophy/article2988640.ece

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