Kolkata: Skipper Laxmi Ratan Shukla shone with both bat and ball to steer hosts Bengal to a 90-run victory over Jharkhand in their first match of the East Zone ODI championships for the Vijay Hazare trophy at the Eden Gardens on Sunday.
In reply to Bengal’s 241 all out off 48.2 overs, Jharkhand, who opted to field after winning the toss, collapsed to 151 in 40.4 overs.
Shukla, after scoring a gutsy 82 off 92 balls (7×4 and one six), bagged two vital Jharkhand wickets later.
The dependable Bengal all-rounder, who was caught by Manoj Singh off medium pacer Kuldip Sharma, was ably assisted by opener Wridhiman Saha and Manoj Tiwary.
While Saha made 44 (7×4 and 1×6) before being caught by Rameez Nemat off medium pacer Rahul Shukla, Tiwary was caught and bowled by off-spinner Keshab Kumar. Tiwary scored 37 off 57 balls (2×4).
Former Indian skipper and Indian Premier League team Kolkata Knight Riders captain Sourav Ganguly, however, fell early after a breezy start notching 17 off 20 balls with four boundaries.
Ganguly, who was aiming a lofted drive, fell to a Kuldip Sharma delivery spooning to Subrata Ghosh.
Sharma, the most successful Jharkhand bowler, bagged four Bengal wickets conceding 33 runs in nine overs while left arm spinner Manoj Singh took two Bengal wickets for 41 runs.
For the visitors, Ishank Jaggi and Sourav Tiwary were going great guns before they were outwitted by Shukla on 29 and 32 respectively.
Apart from Jaggi and Tiwary, only Keshab Kumar offered some resistance notching up 31 runs (not out).
While Shukla conceded 17 runs in five overs, medium pacer Abhik choudhury and left-arm spinner Iresh Saxena bagged two scalps each. Senior Bengal medium pacer Ranadeb Bose and Ashok Dinda bagged one wicket each.
Shukla said he was happy with the outcome. “It was a good day for us as well as for me,” he said. On Ganguly’s performance, Shukla said, “Dada (Ganguly) is playing match after some time. He will come up with a bigger score in the next match.”
Bengal earned five points including one bonus in this match while Jharkhand conceded a point.