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March 12, 2012
Bengal 252 for 4 (Shukla 106*, Majumdar 50*) beat Mumbai 248 (Jaffer 61, Shukla 4-38)
An unbeaten century and four wickets from allrounder Laxmi Ratan Shukla helped Bengal beat Mumbai at the Feroz Shah Kotla, and lift the Vijay Hazare Trophy for the first time since the tournament's inception. Mumbai had scored 295 at the Kotla in the semi-final, on Saturday, but could only manage 248 this time, after Shukla prevented the top-order batsmen from kicking on from starts, and repeated strikes in the middle overs prevented an acceleration.
It was still a competitive total, though, and Shukla came in after Bengal had crawled to 69 for 2 in 17.5 overs. He took control of the chase, and, after losing a couple of partners, found company in Anustup Majumdar, who scored 50 not out off 45 balls. The pair shared an unbeaten 107-run partnership to take Bengal home in 46.1 overs. Both were aggressive: Shukla hit 12 fours and two sixes in his 106 not out off 90 balls, while Majumdar struck seven boundaries in his half-century.
The partnership came after Sourav Ganguly's 38 off 53 balls and Shreevats Goswami's 42 off 73 had left Bengal behind the asking-rate. When Wriddhiman Saha was dismissed for 11 in the 33rd over, Bengal were 145 for 4 and the match was still even. Shukla and Majumdar took it away from Mumbai, whose spinners were expensive.
Mumbai chose to bat, after the strategy had worked in the semi-final, and had a bright beginning thanks to Wasim Jaffer's 61 off 48 balls, which included 10 fours and a six. They were 83 for 0 in the 13th over when Shukla bowled Jaffer. Shukla then dismissed Ajinkya Rahane and Anup Revandkar to slow the run-rate down. The dangerous Abhishek Nayar was dismissed for 11 and Bengal kept chipping away at the wickets after that. Suryakumar Yadav held one end up, and scored 50 off 68 balls, but once he was dismissed, Mumbai's lower order failed to make significant contributions, and they were bowled out in 49.2 overs, Shukla taking the final wicket.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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