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Ojha stars in Bengal’s first win of season

Left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha spun Bengal to their maiden victory this season as his career-best match haul of 11 wickets helped the hosts outplay Vidarbha by 105 runs in the Group A Ranji Trophy cricket match, which witnessed an intense finish, here on Tuesday.

Chasing a stiff 297, Vidarbha almost saw the day through with a valiant 96 from Ganesh Satish (11x4, 1x6) but the new Bengal recruit trapped him LBW with a ball that stayed low en route to 4-60 in the second innings to make it 183 for nine in the last ball of 82nd over. With light fading fast and Bengal needing the last wicket, two catches were dropped to add more drama in the fag end of the fourth and final day.

But before it could go out of their hands Veer Pratap Singh (3-23), who had given the first two breakthroughs in the day, sealed the win dismissing Ravikumar Thakur to spark early Diwali celebrations in the hosts camp. Having defeated the team, which was placed second before the match, Bengal thus opened up the table to jump to top four and brighten their last-eight hopes, while Vidarbha dropped to fifth.

Bengal are now ahead of Vidarbha and behind third-placed Assam on net run-rate as all the three teams have 16 points, while Delhi (24) and reigning champions Karnataka (21) occupy top two in the standings.
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