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Ranji Trophy 2022: Skipper Abhimanyu Keeps Bengal in Hunt with Unbeaten Fifty

Talented India A batter Abhimanyu Easwaran led from the front with an unbeaten 79 as Bengal fought back in their second essay to keep their hopes alive in their Ranji Trophy group B match against Baroda at Barabati Stadium here on Saturday.

Chasing a challenging 349 to win, Bengal were 146 for 2 on the penultimate day with Abhimanyu (79 from 114 balls; 4×4) batting alongside Anustup Majumdar on 22 (51 balls; 2×4) as the match is heading for a thrilling finish.

Bengal require 203 on the final day, while Baroda need eight wickets to seal the issue.

Having put up a sloppy batting display and failed to even bat out one session to be dismissed for 88 in the first innings, Bengal bounced back strongly in their second essay with an 89-run opening stand between Sudip Gharami and Abhimanyu.

But Baroda dealt a twin blow dismissing Gharami (27) and Writtick Chatterjee (0) with addition of just one run to have Bengal in a spot of bother with 90 for 2 inside 25 overs.

Abhimanyu and the seasoned Anustup Majumdar then took charge of the proceedings and ensured no further damage in their unbroken 56-run stand for the third wicket.

“If we can bat well in the first hour tomorrow we can chase it down and go for win,” skipper Abhimanyu said at the end of day three.

“It’s all about the belief that we can turn it around and with the batting lineup we have we are ready to give everything. It’s a decent wicket to bat on, if we can build good partnerships we can certainly chase it down.”

The Bengal bowlers earlier turned it around after their batting debacle as they took the remaining five Baroda’s wickets in the second innings with addition of just 111 runs.

Ishan Porel led the bowling show with 3 for 70 to return with match-haul of nine wickets. Akash Deep claimed 3 for 69 while Mukesh Kumar bagged 2 for 62 as Baroda were all out for 255 in 85.1 overs in their second innings.

“I would like to appreciate the way our bowlers brought us back in the game. Despite bowling for two back-to-back days, they did well.

“We know that we could not live up to our reputation in the first innings but we have worked hard, had belief and our bowlers have given us the chance to turn it around,” the Bengal skipper added.

Brief Scores:

At Barabati Stadium: Baroda 181 and 255; 85.1 overs (Mitesh Patel 57, Kedar Devdhar 41; Akash Deep 3/69, Ishan Porel 3/70). Bengal 88 and 146/2; 41 overs (Abhimanyu Easwaran 79).

At Vikas Cricket Ground: Hyderabad 347 and 269/8 declared; 62 overs (Hanuma Vihari 106, Tilak Varma 63; Gaurav Gambhir 4/61, Jagjit Singh 4/79). Chandigarh 216 and 21/2; 8 overs.

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