New Delhi, March 12 (IANS) An all-round show by Laxmi Ratan Shukla – four wickets and a century – gave Bengal their maiden Vijay Hazare Trophy after a six-wicket win over favourites Mumbai in the title-clash at the Ferozeshah Kotla here Monday.
Having suffered heart-break in three consecutive finals, Shukla looked like the man possessed. He was desperate to get the monkey off the back since he led the team on all the three occasions (2007-08, 2008-09, 2009-10) when Bengal earned the ignominy of losing a hat-trick of Vijay Hazare Trophy finals.
Shukla picked up four for 38 to restrict Mumbai to 248 in 29.2 overs and then struck a quick unbeaten 106 off 90 balls as Bengal achieved the target with six wickets in hand and 23 balls to spare. Anustup Majumdar remained unbeaten on 50.
While chasing, Bengal had a horrible start losing opening bastman Subhamoy Das in the first over, trapped lbw by Mumbai captain and skipper Agarkar.
Opening batsman Shreevats Goswami (42) and Sourav Ganguly (38) stabilised the innings with their 68-run stand for the second wicket. At a time when the partnership was growing in confidence, Ganguly gave an easy return catch to fast bowler Anup Revandkar.
In walked Shukla and he played the innings of his life. He always looked in a hurry to finish off the match quickly and hit 12 fours and two sixes in his whirlwind knock. With Majumdar, Shukla added 107 runs in under 14 overs to take Bengal home safely. Shukla was also adjudged as the Man of the Match.
Earlier, Agarkar didn’t waste time in opting to bat after winning the crucial toss.
Mumbai got a good start as veteran Wasim Jaffer (61) looked in great form and was ably supported by Ajinkya Rahane (24) and the duo added 83 runs for the first wicket. But triple strikes from Shukla in quick successions reduced Mumbai from 83 for no loss to 108 for three.
Shukla castled Jaffer in the 13th over and soon dismissed Rahane caught behind by Wridhiman Saha as Mumbai after a good start were reduced to 98 for two. Shukla trapped Anup Revandkar (15) to wreck the Mumbai top-order.
Mumbai lost wickets at regular intervals and it were Valuable knocks from Suryakumar Yadav (50) and Aditya Tare (35) rescued the innings and helped Mumbai get a crucial 248 runs on board.
Medium pacer Sami Ahmed picked up two for 41 while Sourav Sarkar, Iresh Saxena and Arnab Nani got a wicket each.