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Tuesday, April 03, 2007

India's own Twenty-Twenty begins: Bengal beat Assam

The East Zone leg of the National Twenty-Twenty Championship began at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata today. In the first tie, a refurbished Bengal team led by Manoj Tewari took on Assam.
Batting first, Bengal piled up 169, powered by a 17 ball 25 start given by young Wriddhiman Saha. Rohan Gavaskar joined in the party with a 17 ball 26 and captain Manoj Tiwari scored 36 runs. India under-19 start Abu Nachiman was given special treatment by the Bengal batsmen and was punished with 33 runs being scored off his quota of 4 overs. Pritam Das was the only Assam bowler who looked good, taking 3 wickets.
Chasing a Net Run Rate of over 8 runs an over, the inexperienced Assam batsmen were never really in the hunt. The young Bengal players including Abhishek Jhunjunwala and the captain himself fielded too well for the Assam batters' comfort, effecting a brilliant run-out and a couple of close to imposssible catches. Eventually, Assam lost the match by 35 runs. S.S. Paul took 2 wickets for Bengal, while S. Bhagwati was the top scorer for Assam with 26.
The other teams in the fray in the East Zone are Jharkand, Tripura and Orissa. In the next match, Bengal take on Jharkhand which will be bolstered by the presence of power-hitter Mahendra Singh Dhoni. India's early exit from the World Cup has added some unexpected glamour to India's first Twenty-Twenty Cup, and should generate more interest than it otherwise would have.The Twenty-Twenty World Cup will be held in September this year in South Africa, and from that viewpoint this tournament may generate more than its fair share of interest. India cricket desperately needs some new faces - Let's hope this cup throws up a couple of new stars.

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