Pacer Ashok Dinda returned to his elements with a magnificent seven for 82, and a match haul of 10, to set up Bengal's emphatic eight-wicket win over Uttar Pradesh with more than a day to spare in their Group B Ranji Trophy league in Kolkata on Monday.
A day after Bengal skipper Laxmi Ratan Shukla turned it around for Bengal with his belligerent century, Dinda, who had taken two wickets to leave UP tottering at 50 for three in their overnight score, exploited the Eden green top to the fullest enroute to his 7/82, his first five-for this season. Dinda was brilliantly supported by Sourav Sarkar (3/33) as the former India pacer bowled an unchanged spell of 12.4 overs in a brilliant display of seam bowling to skittle out the Group B leaders for 140, giving the hosts a paltry 69 to chase.
Bengal had the bonus point in sight as they promoted Abhimanyu Easwaran to open the innings with Gitimoy Basu as regular opener Arindam Das was down with a sore back. Debutant Abhimanyu looked elegant but Bengal's hope of posting a 10-wicket win was shattered when Basu got out chasing down a wide delivery. Sayan Sekhar Mondal (21 not out) and Sudip Chatterjee (11 not out) completed the formality to hand Bengal their first win of the season with a full session and a day to spare. Even as the win came in their penultimate league match, the six points revived Bengal's quarter-final hopes as they moved to 18 points to have an outside chance of making the knockout stage.