Bengal’s persistence pays off

The uncomplaining Bengal duo of Ranadeb Bose and Ashok Dinda, who complemented one another when wearing dual mantle of stock bowlers and shock bowlers, allowed itself a satisfied smile after holding back Delhi’s bid to gain the first innings lead, in the Ranji Trophy Group A Super League game, at the Kotla, on Thursday.

Bose and Dinda claimed four wickets each and ensured three points for Bengal from the 14-run lead over Delhi. They were excellent examples of the team’s competitive approach and intensity on a placid track of low bounce and slow place that challenged bowlers to maintain a high level of discipline.

Of course, the track also demanded immense concentration from the batsmen. Delhi’s overnight pair of Rajat Bhatia (65, 166 balls, four fours) and Sumit Narwal (60, 132 balls, seven fours) continued the stirring fightback for 24 more overs and made its stand worth 119 run runs before Bose got the breakthrough by trapping the left-handed Narwal in front.

Five overs later, Dinda responded by castling Bhatia. With Delhi still 37 runs short of Bengal’s first innings score of 473, it seemed like the visiting side would cruise home without more ado. But the last wicket pair of Pradeep Sangwan and Parvinder Awana resisted for eight overs and gave the home side hope that they would miraculously cross the line.

The strapping Bose had Awana caught by Anustup Majumdar to end such aspirations and seal the lead for Bengal. Together with Dinda, Bose had bowled more than two-thirds the overs sent down by Bengal. The pair — as also support seamer Laxmi Ratan Shukla — showed oodles of patience as they kept chipping away at the home batsmen.

The work ethic shown by the team at the Kotla augurs well for the Bengal side that promised to be competitive through the season. The new dynamics in the side, given that there is a new captain-coach combination in Manoj Tiwary and WV Raman, ensured that the side emerged as a battling unit here.

The challenge would be to sustain the momentum gained by a solid team showing in the side’s opening game of the first class season. In a league group that includes heavyweights like Mumbai and Tamil Nadu, Bengal will have to keep showing such intensity and teamwork, as they did at the Kotla, to be in with a chance of making it to the knockout stage.