Vijay Hazare trophy: Brilliant Manoj, cool Veer take Bengal to semi-finals
Rajkot: Manoj Tiwary's belligerent 101-ball 130 followed by seamer Veer Pratap Singh's six-wicket haul enabled Bengal to beat a spirited Vidarbha by 17 runs and enter the semi-finals of the National One Day Championship for the Vijay Hazare Trophy, here Thursday.
Put into bat, Bengal scored a challenging 318 for five in 50 overs with Manoj smashing his way to an innings that included four boundaries and nine towering sixes. The knock will certainly help him remain in India contention as his performance was keenly watched by national selector Vikram Rathour.
In reply, Vidarbha failed to cross the line despite twin centuries from left-handed opener Faiz Fazal (105) and India discard Subramanium Badrinath's 100, as they managed 301 for eight in 50 overs.
"Normally, we play on pitches back home where scoring runs isn't that easy. Therefore, when you get an opportunity on a batting beauty like this, you want to make the most of it," Manoj said after the match.
Bengal's dominance at national level in the 50-over format was once again established as they have now made it to the semi-finals in six of the last eight editions (including the current one). Out of the six, they have been in four finals winning the 2012 edition.
Young medium-pacer Veer recorded career-best figures of 6 for 51, providing his team with crucial breakthroughs at junctures when it looked like the opposition was running away with the game.
His clever change-ups and the effective slower deliveries in batting Powerplay brought Bengal back in the match after Vidarbha were in cruise mode at 211 for two.
Earlier, it was Manoj who carried the bulk of the responsibility on his shoulders. He did get support from the in-form left-hander Shreevats Goswami (84, 113 balls), who also hit nine boundaries. The duo added 142 runs for the second wicket.
Bengal's no 1 batsman was severe on the spin troika - offies Akshay Wakhare, Badinath and left-arm spinner Ravi Jangid, repeatedly carting them over long-on and long-off.
Bengal: 318/5 in 50 overs (Manoj Tiwary 130, Shreevats Goswarmi 84; Ravikumar Thakur 2-77, Ravi Jangid 1-50)
Vidarbha: 301/8 in 50 overs (Faiz Fazal 105, Subramaniam Badrinath 100; Veer Pratap Singh 6-51, Laxmi Shukla 1-46)