Shahbaz"s all-round show seals Bengal"s second win on trot

  • | Sunday | 27th February, 2022

Cuttack, Feb 27 (PTI) Bengal once again rode on Shahbaz Ahmed"s all-round effort to thrash Hyderabad by 72 runs for their second successive win in the Ranji Trophy here on Sunday. Fresh from scripting Bengal"s epic turnaround against Baroda in their previous group B match, the left-arm spin bowling all-rounder followed up his gritty second innings 51 with fine figures of 16-5-41-3. Pacer Akash Deep was the wrecker-in-chief (13.2-2-41-4) as Hyderabad, who were overnight 16 for three in their pursuit of 239, folded for 166 inside two sessions. Mukesh Kumar (2/49) and Ishan Porel (1/20) were also among the wickets as Bengal (12 points) went past Hyderabad to occupy the top spot in Group B with a match left. Mumbai Indians" Rs 1.7 crore IPL 2022 buyout Tilak Varma (90 from 152 balls; 9x4, 1x6) waged a lone battle for Hyderabad after Himalay Agarwal"s first ball dismissal by Akash Deep on the final day. Playing his third Ranji match, the 19-year-old looked at ease and threatened to steal the show from Bengal before Akash Deep ended his dogged resistance, dismissing him 1o runs shy of a maiden first-class century. Hyderabad"s second innings folded in 61.2 overs. Left-hander Varma, who was overnight 11, shared 42 runs with wicketkeeper-batter Prateek Reddy (19) before putting together 27 runs with Buddhi Rahul (17). Just when Hyderabad looked settled with Prateek and Varma making steady progress, Shahbaz got into the act in his very first over of the day and cleaned up the former. Akash Deep at the other end gave another breakthrough, dismissing Buddhi Rahul as a collapse looked imminent before skipper T Ravi Teja gave a fine support to Varma. The duo added 49 runs from 91 balls as Hyderabad inched closer, needing 105 runs when Shahbaz turned it around with his twin blow in successive overs. Shahbaz broke the partnership by dismissing the Hyderabad skipper for 23 and in his next over, he castled Tanay Thyagarajan for a duck. Varma continued his resistance with the tail-enders as Bengal kept rotating the bowlers before Akash Deep finally sealed the proceedings. For Shahbaz, who has been brought back by Royal Challengers Bangalore for Rs 2.40 crore, this was his second man-of-the-match show on the trot. "I am obviously enjoying my role. I have been playing the role of an all-rounder for a long time now, always prepared to give my best for my team. "I come to bat at seven for Bengal, it"s always a crucial spot and I am very happy that I am able to perform well for Bengal," said Shahbaz, who scored 40 and 51 and returned with four wickets. In the last match against Baroda, Shahbaz scored a 71 not out in the second innings to turn it around for Bengal after they were shot out for 88 in the first innings. "The team is upbeat, we are confident about our bowling and batting. We"ll give everything to win the next." Bengal will take on Chandigarh in their final round group B fixture from March 3. Brief Scores: At Barabati Stadium: Bengal 242 and 201. Hyderabad 205 and 166; 61.2 overs (Tilak Varma 90, Ravi Teja 23; Akash Deep 4/41, Shahbaz Ahmed 3/41). Bengal won by 72 runs.Points: Bengal 6, Hyderabad 0. At Vikas Cricket Ground: Chandigarh 168 and 473/7; 136 overs (Ankit Kaushik 105 not out, Harnoor Singh 86, Arslan Khan 72, Manan Vohra 64; Bhargav Bhatt 3/133, Abhimanyusingh Rajput 2/68). Baroda 517. Match drawn. Points: Baroda 3, Chandigarh 1. PTI TAP AH AH

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