Vijay Hazare Trophy 2015-16, Group D December 13, 2015

Saxena, Bhatia star in easy MP win, UP beat Bengal

ESPNcricinfo staff

File photo: Jalaj Saxena picked up two wickets and then scored 69 as Madhya Pradesh cruised to victory © MPCA

Jalaj Saxena and Harpreet Singh Bhatia hit half-centuries as Madhya Pradesh beat Goa by seven wickets to register their first win of the tournament.

Chasing 215, MP lost Rajat Patidar in the first over. But Saxena and Naman Ojha added 73 for the second wicket to put the chase back on track. Ojha, hit seven fours and a six in his 47 before falling to Shadab Jakati, the left-arm spinner. The chase was then piloted for most parts by Harpreet Singh, who finished unbeaten on 74 as MP won with 46 balls to spare.

That Goa managed to push past 200 was courtesy half-centuries from Swapnil Asnodkar and Saurabh Bandekar. Both batsmen made 68 on either side of Goa's middle order implosion. Both batsmen were also involved in a 49-run stand for the sixth wicket that helped them recover from 95 for 5. Three other batsmen got into double digits, with the highest being 18.

MP's spinners - Saxena and Ankit Sharma - dismantled the tail, but the bulk of the damage upfront was done by the pacers. Puneet Datey and Chadrakant Sakure, the debutant, picked up two wickets apiece.

Mohammad Javed, the medium pacer playing in only his second List-A game, starred with returns of 4 for 40 as Uttar Pradesh beat Bengal by four wickets to register their second win in as many matches in the 2015-16 Vijay Hazare Trophy.

While Javed broke the backbone of Bengal's batting line-up to restrict them to a modest 221, Umang Sharma, the opener, drove home the advantage by stroking a 94-ball 73 to help lay the foundation of UP's chase. He was well backed up by Prashant Gupta (47) and Eklavya Dwivedi (45), but UP more wickets than they would have liked; ultimately finishing off the chase with 20 balls to spare.

Mohammed Shami, returning to cricket after an eight-month layoff because of an ankle injury, picked up two wickets. The finishing touches for UP was lent by Rinku Singh, who finished with 30 not out.

Opting to bat, Bengal managed 221 mainly due to Sudip Chatterjee's 97, that included nine fours. No other Bengal batsman managed more than 35, as UP's bowlers kept chipping at Bengal's wickets, dismissing them in 48.3 overs.

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