Bengal’s best were pitted against each other in Monday’s P Sen Invitational Trophy final between Kalighat and Mohun Bagan, which was also serving as a farewell match for veteran bowler Shib Shankar Paul, but the most telling contributions on the big day were from the natural elements and two of Kalighat’s outstation batsmen – Ishank Jaggi of Jharkhand and Shibsankar Roy of Assam.
Mohun Bagan’s decision to field first turned out to blow up in their face, as the two Kalighat openers both raced to individual tons. Jaggi, who was playing in the match after a modest showing in the recently concluded Dhaka Premier League, raced to a blistering start, finishing with 127 runs off 101 balls. Roy started slower but picked up his scoring rate as well, being undefeated at the crease on 138* when the rains came down in the 46th over.
Captain Manoj Tiwary scored 15 runs, inching Kalighat’s score beyond 300. With thunderstorms forcing a long break, Kalighat’s innings was called to a close at 306/4 in 45.1 overs. This was the target set for the chase. Rajkumar Pal took 3 wickets conceding 50 runs.
Mohun Bagan had reached a target of 198 in 13.2 overs in the semi-final on Saturday, with Laxmi Ratan Shukla and Wriddhiman Saha having unleashed carnage on the Netaji Subhash Institute team. They lost the plot surprisingly early on Monday, however, as a procession of batsmen followed each other to the crease and back to the pavilion in an attempt to play aggressively.
A tale of two Shibs
Shib Shankar Paul, who was playing the last match of a 16-year career, got the crucial wicket of opener Vivek Singh, finishing with figures of 1/44. Pacers Abid Nabi and Sayan Ghosh caused trouble to Bagan as well, picking up figures of 2/27 and 1/32 respectively. The disastrous collapse saw them struggling at 101/6 at one stage..
Even Saha found the going tough, perishing for 7 runs after 18 balls. His next assignment will be to go to Bangalore to join new coach Anil Kumble’s first preparatory camp with the Indian team which starts on Wednesday.
Rain came down to stop the play on two further occasions, and the target had to be revised twice, finally being settled at 208 in 38 overs. Debabrata Das (77) and Sanjib Sanyal (42) came together for a late rescue effort, but the early setback was always going to be too much to overcome.
With 25 runs required off the last over, it was captain Manoj Tiwary who brought himself on to bowl. He got his former Kolkata Knight Riders teammate Das in the over to dash Bagan’s remaining hopes. It was a valiant effort by Das and Sanyal, but they fell short by 8 runs.
This was the last tournament for the season organised by the Cricket Association of Bengal, with Mohun Bagan having won all the three other titles – the CAB Super League, the AN Ghosh Memorial Trophy and the JC Mukherjee Trophy. They were denied from making a clean sweep by Kalighat on Monday.
Manoj Tiwary later dedicated the triumph to the outgoing Shib Shankar Paul, who was also felicitated by Sourav Ganguly and other Bengal cricket dignitaries.Published 28 Jun 2016, 06:35 IST