GUWAHATI: Having lost two straight matches, the Assam team management decided to go for a change of captain. And, it did click!
Stepping into the shoes of relatively experienced Rishav Das, Rajasthan Royals batsman Riyan Parag led Assam to queer the pitch for better rated Bengal defeating the home side by 13 runs in the penultimate Group B league fixture of Syed Mustaq Ali Trophy at Eden Gardens in Kolkata today.
Bengal elected to field first hoping to capitalise on the conditions, but Assam rode a brilliant 77-run unbeaten effort from Riyan to put up a healthy 157 for five in their quota of 20 overs. Bengal finished at 144 for eight after a below par performance. This was Riyan’s maiden outing as skipper in his career.
Bengal removed the Assam openers early but a 76-run partnership between Denish Das and Riyan for the third wicket resurrected their innings. Denish scored 34 off 36 balls before departing, but aided by a floored chance Riyan did some heavy hitting to remain undefeated on 77 off 54 balls with five boundaries and as many sixes. None of the Bengal bowlers were spared as he meticulously paced his innings to prop up the total.
Bengal began the chase in familiar fashion with Shreevats Goswami and Vivek Singh finding boundaries at ease. But they perished to bad shots on 16 and 21 respectively letting go of any advantage that Bengal had.
Skipper Anustup Majumdar held on to one side but found no support other than Manoj Tiwary who scored a brisk 33. He remained not out on 48 off 47 to a losing cause.
Rishav, who led the team in the earlier three matches of which Assam won one against Hyderabad by two runs, returned to a first ball duck for the second straight match. Riyan has been consistently scoring for the side in the league.
Assam lost to Tamil Nadu and Jharkhand and will have to win their last match against Odisha to remain in contention for a playoffs berth. With the four points from today’s tie, Assam are still in the third place with eight points after Tamil Nadu (16 pts) and Bengal (12 pts).