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Easwaran scores maiden double hundred but Bengal fail to qualify for knock-outs

Press Trust of India  |  Kolkata 

Bengal opener Abhimanyu Easwaran's maiden double hundred went in vain as Bengal failed to qualify for the knock-out stages after their final group B encounter against ended in a draw.

Abhimanyu batted close to 10 hours and remained unbeaten on 201 from 373 balls (16x4) in his marathon knock that delayed Bengal's declaration to post-tea session in the must-win contest.

With the India A opener being given an opportunity to achieve personal milestone, any chances of a sporting declaration went up in smoke.

One of Bengal's biggest bane this season has been bowling.

That veteran in one of his underwhelming seasons with only 28 wickets from 8 games had emerged as highest wicket-taker tells a sorry tale that even after five seasons, there is no one better than him.

Bengal declared at 432/6 after Abhimanyu completed his milestone, setting an improbable target of 173 in 16 overs, with one-hour's play left on the final day.

Taking up the challenge with a positive mindset, (58 from 28 balls; 2x4, 6x6) smashed Bengal bowlers all around the Salt Lake Campus, and took just 21 balls to notch his second consecutive half-century.

The contest was reduced to a T20 affair with Gony leading charge. But Gony was cleaned up by Pradipta Pramanik in the 13th over as Punjab were restricted for 132/5 in 15 overs to settle for three points on basis of their first innings lead.

Both the teams finished with 23 points to finish behind (24) and who became the only to qualify from group B with 26 points.

Punjab lost openers Shubman Gill (eight) and Anmolpreet Singh (six) for 25 runs in 3.1 overs as they promoted Gony to No 3.

The Punjab big-hitter seized the initiative with veteran (12 from nine balls; 2x4) before he ran out the former star allrounder in the fifth over.

But Gony kept the run flow going with (35) and he even got a reprieve on 43 when Writtick Chatterjee dropped him at long on.

Punjab were 105/3 after 10 overs as the target seemed within rich with Gony punishing the Bengal attack.

bowled a tidy 12th over, conceding just six runs to mount pressure on Punjab.

In the next over, Gony looked to break free against left-arm spinner Pradipta Pramanik only to be cleaned up after missing the line.

Three balls later Mandeep was run out by Dinda as Punjab were 132/5 in 15 when they settled for a draw.

The Punjab criticised Bengal for "negative tactics" and said: "Their approach was negative and poor. With 218/2 on the final day, they could have declared early. But they played slow, giving us little chance to go for a win."

He further said they were surprised by the wicket that turned out to be batting-friendly.

"Both the teams thought the wicket will crack and will not last till fourth day. But it stayed firm, taking us by surprise," a dejected Mandeep said.

Earlier resuming the day on 218/2, Bengal who was overnight 90, notched his second century of the season, and 26th overall.

Tiwary made 105 from 173 balls (10x4, 1x6) before being bowled by left-arm spinner as Abhimanyu stayed on to complete his double.

The Bengal opener finished with 861 runs from 6 matches at an impressive average of 95.66 that included three centuries and three fifties.

"He's definitely special. In the last game too, he scored a century in the second innings and played a match winning unbeaten knock," the Punjab skipper said showering praise on Abhimanyu.

"He has got an excellent conversion rate and I think we have to learn from him. Definitely, he's a future of Indian "


Brief Scores

Bengal 187 and 432/6 declared; 130 overs (Abhimanyu Easwaran 201 not out, 105, Writtick Chatterjee 48; 3/123). Punjab 447 and 132/5; 15 overs (58, 35). Match drawn. Points: Punjab 3, Bengal 1.

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

First Published: Thu, January 10 2019. 18:25 IST
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