Sreevats' 79 not enough as Bengal lose Vijay Hazare opener
KOLKATA: Just a few months ago, Bengal removed Sairaj Bahutule as coach after the team fared poorly last season. However, nothing seemed to have changed as Bengal started their domestic campaign on a disappointing note, going down to the Bahutule-coached Gujarat by 38 runs in an Elite Group 'C' Vijay Hazare Trophy (50-over) match at the Jaipuria Vidhyalaya ground in Jaipur on Tuesday.
The Bengal bowlers did well to restrict Gujarat to 253 for eight after skipper Sudip Chatterjee won the toss and asked Gujarat to bat first. But poor batting let Bengal down.
Bengal made a disastrous start to the chase, losing opener Abhishek Raman (15), Chatterjee (4) and former skipper Manoj Tiwary (0) in quick succession to be reduced to 25 for three within the first seven overs.
"Losing three early wickets put us under pressure," skipper Chatterjee later agreed.
The two wicketkeeper-batsmen - Sreevats Goswami and Wriddhiman Saha - then tried to steady the innings by adding 52 runs for the fourth wicket. Goswami played responsibly and was involved in another useful stand with Anustup Majumder after Saha fell to former India spinner Axar Patel for 26.
Goswami and Majumder added 77 runs for the fifth wicket and just when the duo looked set to take Bengal the distance, Gujarat struck hard by dismissing both batsmen as well as Shahbaz Ahmed within a span of five overs. Goswami made 79 off 112 balls with the help of six fours while Majumder scored a run-a-ball 39.
Bengal's tail failed to wag for long as they folded up for 215 in 46.2 overs with left-arm pacer Roosh Kalaria claiming four for 34 in 8.2 overs.
Earlier, Bengal pacers stuck to their job as Ashok Dinda, Sayan Ghosh and Akash Deep shared seven wickets among themselves. While Ghosh (2-62) and Deep (2-49) struck early on, Dinda returned in his second spell to claim three for 58.
Gujarat 253/8 in 50 overs (Bhargav Merai 63, Manprit Juneja 47, Kathan D Patel 36, Ashoke Dinda 3/58) bt Bengal 215 in 46.2 overs (Sreevats Goswami 79, Anustup Majumdar 39, Rush Kalaria 4/34, Axar Patel 1/47) by 38 runs.
Points: Gujarat: 4, Bengal: 0.