Kolkata: A career-best five wicket haul by skipper Laxmi Ratan Shukla helped Bengal clinch a thrilling 11-run win over Odisha in their opening match of the East Zone leg of the one-day cricket tournament for the Vijay Hazare Troph whereas Assam trounced Tripura by eight wickets in a low-scoring tie at Eden Gardens on Thursday.
Opting to bat on a lively Jadavpur campus wicket at Salt Lake here, Bengal were skittled out for 186 with Manoj Tiwary (55) being the top-scorer. Chasing a paltry target, Odisha began shakily to be reduced to 94 for five with Ashok Dinda (4/48) and Shukla giving the hosts a fine start.
But a gritty 51 from Odisha skipper Biplab Samantray kept them in the hunt taking them to 20 runs shy of the target in the 40th over. Shukla (5/34) then produced the best spell of his career with his slow medium pace as he ripped apart the Odisha tail including the prized scalp of Samantray to bowl Odisha out for 175 in 41.5 overs.
"It's great to get my maiden five-wicket haul (in List A cricket). At one point, we were in a spot of bother, so it's more satisfying that my effort came in a victory," Shukla said. At the same time, he urged the batters to buck up.
"Winning the toss was crucial. But batting is still a bit of concern. We hope to improve," he added. From the next match, Bengal will not get the services of Dinda and Tiwary as they will be busy doing national duty. Tiwary may return in the late stage of the tournament after his India A stint while Dinda had been ruled out.
At Eden Gardens, Assam thrashed minnows Tripura by eight wickets in a low-scoring tie. Opting to bat, Tripura were bundled out for a mere 109 in 37 overs with Assam off-spinner Gokul Sharma returning with a career-best 4/27.
Tripura skipper Ajay Ratra (28) was their top scorer as they struggled to put on a partnership.
In reply, Assam raced to the target in 23 overs that handed them a bonus point as they climbed to the top of the East Zone table with five points, ahead of Bengal (4).
Chasing the paltry target, the opening duo of former Maharashtra skipper Dhiraj Jadhav (18) and Pallavkumar Das (40 from 41 balls; 7x4) put on a 51-run stand before Sibsankar Roy (22 not out) and Sharma (20 not out) steered the side home.
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