Shahbaz"s gritty fifty sets Bengal up for a gripping finish vs Hyderabad

  • | Saturday | 26th February, 2022

Cuttack, Feb 26 (PTI) All-rounder Shahbaz Ahmed once again came up with a gritty second innings half-century as Bengal set Hyderabad a challenging target of 239 runs in their must-win Ranji Trophy group B match at the Barabati Stadium here on Saturday. In reply, Hyderabad were left reeling at 16/3 with Bengal pace trio of Mukesh Kumar, Ishan Porel and Akash Deep snaring one wicket each to brighten Bengal"s prospects. Hyderabad require 223 runs, while Bengal will need seven wickets as the match is set for an intense finish on Sunday. Hyderabad began their chase on an ominous note when opener Tanmay Agarwal was trapped by Mukesh Kumar off the first ball of their second innings. Ishan then gave another breakthrough in the fourth over dismissing No.3 batter Mickil Jaiswal (5). Akshath Reddy tried to build a partnership and was at his defiant best but Akash Deep cleaned him up in the final delivery of the penultimate day to end his dogged stay of 63 minutes for a duck from 37 balls. Earlier, resuming their second innings on 16/1, Bengal, who had a slender 38-run first innings lead, had a familiar batting collapse as skipper Abhimanyu Easwaran, who was overnight 10, got out cheaply for 24 (45 balls). Ritwik Roy Chowdhury (41; 127 balls) and Sayan Sekhar Mondal (17; 57 balls) put on 35 runs for the fourth wicket before left-arm spinner Tanay Thyagarajan (3/44) ended their resistance. Veteran Manoj Tiwary was run out for 10 as Bengal lost half their side for 118 runs. But the spin-bowling Royal Challengers Bengaluru all rounder Shahbaz had other ideas as he once again rescued Bengal with a fine 87-ball 51. The left-hander, who scored a 71 not out in the second innings in Bengal"s win over Baroda in the previous match, put on a match-turning 65-run partnership with Anustup Majumdar (42; 127b). Shahbaz curbed his aerial shot and slammed four boundaries en route to his sixth first-class fifty from 15 matches. Fresh from Rs 1.7 crore buyout by Mumbai Indians, rookie off-spin all-rounder Tilak Varma (3/13) broke Bengal"s lower order resistance with three wickets in five balls to bundle them out for 201 in 79 overs. Brief Scores: ========= At Barabati Stadium: Bengal 242 and 201; 79 overs (Shahbaz Ahmed 51, Anustup Majumdar 42, Ritwik Roy Chowdhury 41; Tilak Varma 3/13, Tanay Thyagarajan 3/44). Hyderabad 205 and 16/3; 13.2 overs (Tilak Varma 11). Match to continue. At Vikas Cricket Ground: Chandigarh 168 and 231/2; 62 over (Harnoor Singh 86, Arslan Khan 72). Baroda 517; 132.2 overs (Vishnu Solanki 104, Jyotsnil Singh 96, Bhargav Bhatt 75, Atit Sheth 59; Jagjit Singh Sandhu 5/118, Gurinder Singh 3/114). Match to continue. PTI TAP PM PM PM

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