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Dhoni wins hearts but Bengal win Hazare semi-final

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Singh enthralled one and all with some breathtaking sixes but a young Bengal side put up a spirited display to beat by 41 runs and enter the Vijay Hazare final here today. They will meet in the final. Bengal had lost to Karthik and Co. In the two successive finals in 2008-09 and 2009-10. Riding on twin hundreds by Abhimanyu Easwaran (101) and Shreevats Goswami (101) and a blistering 75 from skipper Manoj Tiwary, Bengal scored an imposing 329 for four in 50 overs. But one of the greatest finishers of the game, took the battle back to the enemy camp, hitting 70 off 62 balls, before they were bundled out for 288 in 50 overs. The four sixes were vintage and the 2000-odd spectators who had come to watch him in action were not disappointed.

They were ecstatic when Ashoke Dinda dropped a sitter at long-off that trickled down to the boundary. The hapless off-spinner Amir Gani watched in disbelief as then hit him for two sixes over long-on -- the second one went 100 metres. The pressure of scoreboard was telling but that didn't deter from sending a Pragyan Ojha delivery into the second tier at the Ambedkar Stadium end. He found an able ally in Ishank Jaggi (59 off 43 balls) who also played his shots at will, even as Bengal's ground fielding was exceptional led by centurion Easwaran. Ojha (5/71) has lost some zip after a remodelled action and kept on bowling short and was repeatedly punished by and Jaggi. However Ojha bowled the most important delivery of his entire stint with Bengal as he got one to turn away from clipping off bail. The match was won and lost with that single delivery from Ojha. Jaggi was leg before in the next over from Sayan Ghosh and then the match was over with Ojha wrapping up the tail. Earlier, skipper Tiwary sent pacers Varun Aaron (1/89 in 10 overs) and Rahul Shukla (0/75 in 10 overs) on a leatherhunt during the final 10 overs as Bengal piled up runs. Tiwary's 49-ball innings had seven fours and two sixes after Easwaran and Shreevats scored identical 101 each, adding 198 runs together for the opening wicket. While Easwaran anchored the innings with seven boundaries and a hooked six in 117 balls, Goswami had 11 fours and a six in 99 deliveries. Goswami was more flamboyant while Easwaran was compact, which even drew applause from chairman of selectors MSK Prasad.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sat, March 18 2017. 17:42 IST