Choudhury sparkles in Bengal's win
Rana Choudhury hit five sixes in a 36-ball 67 blitzkrieg as Bengal piled up 171 for six and then restricted Haryana to 153 in the Twenty20 all-India cricket championship Group `B' game.
Ranadeb Bose's four wickets in four overs and Sourav Ganguly's two victims in nine balls were the decisive contributions in Bengal's 18-run victory.
Choudhury's raw power and stunning timing messed up the Haryana bowling plans. The Jharkand native decided four years ago to risk a transfer to Bengal in the hope of a better future.
Twenty20 is turning into a boon for him. He hit hard and long beyond the ropes, stepping inside the line for swatted sixers over cover and was comfortable playing across for slap shots to the mid-wicket fence.
Success in this version may improve this Aryan Club professional's prospects of breaking into the Bengal Ranji one-day side.
"I am happy to have played my part. Twenty20 in domestic cricket has happened at the right time for me," Choudhury, for whom Sourav Ganguly's presence is an eye-opener, said.
"Sourav keeps us on our toes," said Bengal's top-scorer for the second day in running, building the innings after captain Manoj Tiwary had stroked a busy 39-ball 40.
Ganguly gave Bengal several anxious moments after walking out to open the innings. He refused singles in the company of younger batsmen and struggled to 26 off 19 balls before being run out off an attempted waddle across the length of the crease to the striker's end.
Tiwary placed the ball into the cover region and took off for the single and Ganguly failed to beat Sachin Rana's direct throw. Bengal overcame the early trickle of runs (52 for four in eight overs) to reach 171 for six in 20 overs.
Then, Tiwary set an example in the field with four catches to hasten Haryana's slide towards defeat. Sachin Rana's heroic effort (62, 40b) went in vain. Ganguly's controlled seam bowling and subtle changes in line working against the tailenders.
The scores: Bengal 171 for six in 20 overs (Manoj Tiwary 40, Rana Choudhury 67, Amit Mishra two for 34, Sanjay Badwal two for 31, Jitender Birla two for 28) bt Haryana 153 in 19.3 overs (Sachin Rana 62, Joginder Sharma 35, Ranadeb Bose four for 40, Sourav Ganguly two for 16, L.R. Shukla two for 23).