Cheteshwar slams second consecutive ton in Challenger Trophy
Cheteshwar Pujara scored his second unbeaten ton in two days to lead India B to a 21 run win against Bengal in the NKP Salve Challenger Trophy at Rajkot on Monday.
Having won the toss and chosen to bat first, India B suffered an early setback when opener Srikkanth Anirudha (10) was dismissed early. Pujara then added 140 runs with Murali Vijay (93) for the second wicket and another 47 with Kedar Jadhav (22) to set up a solid platform for the team. The team almost gave up the initiative, collapsing to 251/7 as Bengal’s Sandipan Das (5/51) tore through the middle order.
Praveen Kumar then struck an entertaining 53 (26b, 4x7, 6x3), adding 67 for the 8th wicket in just 30 balls. Pujara brought up his ton off 117 balls, ending unbeaten on 124* (130b, 4x10, 6x2) as India B posted an imposing total of 328/8 in their 50 overs.
The 2011-12 Vijay Hazare Trophy holders Bengal made a poor start, stumbling to 21/2 before skipper-wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha (116) and Sandipan Das (57) added 140 for the third wicket, setting up the chase for them. Saha’s dismissal in the 39th over did not deter Debabrata Das (49*) who kept taking Bengal closer batting with the lower order, adding 47 with Arnab Nandi (14) for the 7th wicket and 24 with Ravikant Singh (12) for the 8th wicket.
A direct hit from Pujara ended the partnership. Led by Munaf Patel (4/39), India B wrapped up the Bengal innings for 307 in 49.4 overs, sealing a 21 run win for India B and knocking Bengal out of the tournament.
Pujara now has 282 runs from two innings in the tournament and no average, being unbeaten in his two knocks of 158* and 124*. India A meet India B in the final of the tournament on October 2.