New Delhi: Laxmi Ratan Shukla’s all round performance helped Bengal thrash Mumbai by six wickets with 23 balls to spare in the final of the Vijay Hazare Trophy played here at Feroz Shah Kotla. The star all-rounder first took four wickets to help Bengal restrict Mumbai to a total of 248 runs and in the chase played an attacking unbeaten innings of 106 to ensure that his team will win the title.
Mumbai won the toss and chose to bat first on the Kotla pitch that traditionally gives help the spinners in the latter half of the match. Mumbai got a good starts as their senior batsman, Wasim Jaffer (61) looked in great form and played with great fluency. He was ably supported by Ajinkya Rahane (24) and together they put on 83 runs for the first wicket.
Laxmi Ratan Shukla got the first wicket out of his four wickets to give the breakthrough to Bengal. The fall of Jaffer’s wickets opened the flood gates for Bengal as they bowled half their opponent’s side giving away only 158 runs. Shukla was the reason for Bengal bowling half the Bengal side, he took three wicket out of five that fell.
Mumbai continued to lose wickets at regular intervals and it was the innings of 35 from their wicket-keeper batsman that helped Mumbai reach a respectable total of 248 runs.
In reply, Bengal had a horrible start as they lost their first wicket at a score of 1, Subhomoy Das missed a straight delivery from Mumbai’s captain and Agarkar got his first wicket of the match. After the fall of the first wicket former Indian captain
Sourav Ganguly and Shreevats Goswami ensured that there was no further damage done and piled up a partnership of 68 runs.
After the fall of Ganguly’s wicket Shukla came to crease and took the came away from Mumbai. He scored at a strike rate of 117 and hit 12 fours and 2 sixes in his inning. He ensured that the fall of the wickets at the other end will not hamper Bengal much and together with Anustop Majumdar (50*) finished the match in the 47th over.
Laxmi Ratan Shukla for his all-round performance won the man of the match award.
Mumbai: 248/10 in 49.2 overs (Jaffer 61, Yadav 50, Shukla 4-38)
Bengal: 252/4 in 46.1 overs (Shukla 106, Majumdar 50, Revandkar 1-27)
By Avinash Dhar
Indian Sports News