Raina 126 fires UP to victory

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Suresh Raina’s unbeaten 59-ball 126 made sure that Uttar Pradesh got their Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy all-India Twenty20 tournament Super League Group B ...

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Suresh Raina’s unbeaten 59-ball 126 made sure that Uttar Pradesh got their Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy all-India Twenty20 tournament Super League Group B campaign off to a winning start at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Monday (January 22). In the other game, Delhi defeated Baroda in a close encounter to register their second consecutive win.

Gujarat Lions captain Suresh Raina celebrates his fifty during match 51 of the Vivo Indian Premier League 2016 ( IPL ) between the Gujarat Lions and the Kolkata Knight Riders held at The Green Park, Stadium in Kanpur, India on the 19th May 2016 Photo by Ron Gaunt / IPL/ SPORTZPICS

Gujarat Lions captain Suresh Raina celebrates his fifty during match 51 of the Vivo Indian Premier League 2016 ( IPL ) between the Gujarat Lions and the Kolkata Knight Riders held at The Green Park, Stadium in Kanpur, India on the 19th May 2016
Photo by Ron Gaunt / IPL/ SPORTZPICS

Bengal v Uttar Pradesh
Raina, the Uttar Pradesh captain, roared back to form with a blistering century to help his side thump Bengal by 75 runs.

Raina justified his decision to bat first by piling up the highest individual score of the competition, surpassing Unmukt Chand’s 125 against Gujarat in 2013. The 31-year-old joined hands with Akshdeep Nath, the wicketkeeper-batsman, to form a 163-run association that led Uttar Pradesh to 235 for 3 in 20 overs. Then Kuldeep Yadav and Mohsin Khan shared seven wickets between themselves to bowl Bengal out for 160 in 16.1 overs.

Uttar Pradesh lost Samarth Singh (nought) and Shivam Chaudhary (eight), their openers, early but Raina, who had a forgettable domestic season, came good at last. He found an ally in the form of Nath, who hit seven fours and four sixes en route to a 43-ball 80.

The partnership was finally broken in the last over but by then the damage had already been done. In the process, Raina, who smacked 13 fours and seven sixes during his knock, became only the second Indian cricketer and ninth overall batsman to complete 7,000 T20 runs.

With a huge mountain to climb, Shreevats Goswami (28-ball 57) and Vivek Singh (13-ball 16) got Bengal off to a breezy start. The opening duo added 65 runs in 4.2 overs before Shivam Chaudhary (1 for 15) got rid of Vivek.

Coming in at No. 4, Sudip Chatterjee (25-ball 36) tried forming a partnership with Goswami but Kuldeep, in his second spell of two overs, claimed four wickets to reduce Bengal to 131 for 6.

Mohsin, the left-arm pacer, cleaned up Bengal’s tail in no time. While Kuldeep returned with the figures of 4 for 26, Mohit took 3 for 35.

Baroda v Delhi

Dhruv Shorey’s 56-ball 74 helped Delhi cross the line in the last over with two wickets in hand.

After opting to bowl, Delhi, led by Subodh Bhati’s 4 for 20, restricted Baroda to 140 for 8 despite Kedar Devdhar’s brilliant half-century.

Delhi didn’t have a great start to their chase. Rishabh Pant, the in-form wicketkeeper-batsman, was run out without facing a ball in the first over.

Shorey hit Rishi Arothe for back to back boundaries but Gautam Gambhir, at the other end, found the going difficult.

Lukman Meriwala dented Delhi’s hopes further by sending Gambhir and Nitish Rana back in the same over, reducing them 30 for 3 in four overs. Soon after, Meriwala dismissed Milind Kumar for his third wicket of the innings.

Shorey, though, kept fighting hard and stitched useful partnerships, first with Lalit Yadav (11) and then with Varun Sood (11). Shorey hit eight fours and two sixes and was eventually dismissed off Sheth in the 18th over.

With 15 required off last two overs, Pradeep Sangwan, the Delhi captain, hit a four and a six off Meriwala and took his side to victory with five balls to spare.

Earlier, Devdhar and Urvil Patel got Baroda off to a flier, adding 52 in just 29 balls. Lalit Yadav, the offspinner, provided the breakthrough with Urvil’s wicket. Ninad Rathva and Krunal Pandya didn’t last long and fell to Sangwan and Rana respectively.

Unperturbed by this, Devdhar kept on batting in an aggressive manner, bringing up his half-century off 31 deliveries.

Deepak Hooda was run out for one, leaving Baroda 82 for 4 in ten overs. Devdhar and Vishnu Solanki stitched a 37-run partnership for the fifth wicket and took the side past 100. Devdhar was eventually dismissed for 77 off Bhati. He struck 11 fours and a six in his 53-ball innings.

Bhati then also accounted for Atit Sheth (nought), Solanki (21 off 25 balls), and Soaeb Tai (three), ensuring there were no late fireworks as Baroda managed just 26 from their last five overs.

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