About the Match
Bengal drew the match against Uttar Pradesh in their opening group game and now have 3 points positioned 5th on the table in the ongoing Ranji Trophy; they will take on Punjab, who have 7 points after 2 matches and are placed second, from 20th October at Bilaspur. Punjab defeated Madhya Pradesh by a huge margin of 126 runs after setting a challenging target and following it up with a strong bowling performance; they will be motivated to keep their winning momentum going. Bengal, on the other hand will try to focus on converting their good show into a much needed victory here.
Opening batsman Abhimanyu Easwaran won the player of the match award against Uttar Pradesh after a stunning performance with the bat; he posted centuries in both the innings by scoring 142 off 285 in the first and posting an unbeaten 110 in the 2nd innings to steer the team to a strong total. The Middle-order batsman, Manoj Tiwary, also got a century under his belt as he kept the scoreboard ticking with a brilliant 110 off 150.
Sudip Chaterjee, AS Pan, Mondal and wicket-keeper batsman Goswami are also in good form and they can stabilize the innings from the middle. The batting line-up did well in the first match by posting 466 runs in the first innings and declaring at 274 in the 2nd; the bowlers put up a brave performance with speedsters Ashok Dinda, Ghosh, and Mondal taking 5 wickets between them. However, they couldn’t repeat the show in the second innings and stop UP from drawing the match.
Spinners Pragyan Ojha and Gani bring depth to the attack and they took 5 wickets between them in the first match; they will try to keep the tempo up and outwit the opponents again. Overall, they have good resources with bat and ball who can give the team their first win over the weekend.
Yuvraj Singh, who won the player of the match award, displayed a tremendous form with the bat as he led the team from the front with a powerful 177 off 295 in the first innings of the play against Madhya Pradesh; along with Gurkeerat Singh’s well-made 103 and help from Jiwanjot Singh, they took the scoreboard to 378. The 2nd innings saw yet another strong performance by Yuvraj as he scored 76 from 120 deliveries; he is in good form and can try to set the foundation again.
The bowlers defended the total well thanks to a thumping 10-wicket haul in the match by medium pacer Manpreet Gony; speedsters Sharma, Kaul and Shubek Gill also provided regular breakthroughs and helped win the contest by 126 runs.
The victory has surely boosted the morale of the players and they will be eager to repeat the show here; the top-order has strong batsmen like Yuvraj, Gurkeerat, Jiwanjot, Vohra and T Kohli, who can try and build a strong foundation. Gony is on fire and can be ruthless with his wicket-taking abilities while others like Sharma and Kaul provide teeth to the attack.
Bengal surely has a strong batting unit and a well-rounded bowling unit but we feel that the buoyant Punjab team with its pace attack and hard-hitting batsmen are better placed to win again