Ranji Trophy | Reliable Majumder to Bengal’s rescue

His unbeaten century helps the visitor recover from an early collapse against Odisha

The experienced Anustup Majumder hit a magnificent century to fashion Bengal’s astonishing recovery in the Ranji Trophy quarterfinal match against Odisha at the DRIEMS ground here on Thursday.

Majumder — who last scored a hundred in Bengal’s previous quarterfinal clash (against Gujarat in Jaipur) in 2017-18 — played the role of a rescuer for the third time this season.

He bailed the team out from a precarious 46 for five and helped it close the opening day at an impressive 308 for six.

Disastrous beginning

It was the worst start for Bengal in a season replete with miraculous recoveries as the Odisha medium-pacers extracted good movement on a familiar surface early in the morning. Bengal skipper Abhimanyu Easwaran, asked to bat, nicked Suryakant Pradhan down the leg in the sixth over. It triggered a mini-collapse as half the team was out in a little over an hour. Koushik Ghosh edged one to the slips, Abhishek Raman was lbw, Arnab Nandi — who fell in debutant seamer Preet Chohan’s first over — was held in the slips and Manoj Tiwary got a beauty. However, the dependable duo of Majumder and Shreevats Goswami showed a lot of character and let the pitch ease out.

Prior to lunch, Majumder cracked three crispy boundaries off Basant and after having the meal, he drove, pulled and cut with more confidence.

Good stands

Majumder (136 batting, 194b, 20×4) had two crucial partnerships of 95 and an unbroken 167 with Shreevats Goswami (34, 75b, 5×4) and Shahbaz Ahmed (82 batting, 154b, 13×4) respectively.

Goswami, dropped on 15, played some wristy shots before being caught behind off his hips in the post-lunch session.

Majumder, who stood outside the crease to negate the movement, and an in-form Shahbaz played strokes all around the park to frustrate Odisha, whose field placements defied logic.

It was a satisfying performance for the 35-year-old, who had thrown away his wicket on 99 against Delhi.

“Am used to such situations now. Good to get some support,” said Majumder.

The scores:

Bengal — 1st innings: Koushik Ghosh c Poddar b Basant 9, Abhimanyu Easwaran c Dhuper b Suryakant 7, Abhishek Raman lbw b Suryakant 1, Arnab Nandi c Shantanu b Chohan 24, Manoj Tiwary lbw b Debabrata 4, Anustup Majumder (batting) 136, Shreevats Goswami c Dhuper b Chohan 34, Shahbaz Ahmed (batting) 82; Extras (lb-7, nb-2, w-2): 11; Total (for six wkts. in 86 overs): 308.

Fall of wickets: 1-17, 2-17, 3-25, 4-46, 5-46, 6-141.

Odisha bowling: Basant 20-6-48-1, Suryakant 22-4-96-2, Chohan 15-3-52-2, Debabrata 14-0-54-1, Poddar 10-0-36-0, Shantanu 5-0-15-0.

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