Dhoni’s wicket was special, says Pragyan
Internet Desk: Bengal defeated Jharkhand by 41 runs to make it to the final of the Vijay Hazare Trophy today at the Feroz Shah Kotla stadium. Although it might look that Bengal had it easy at the end, but not before MS Dhoni departed for 70 runs. The former India captain along with Ishank Jaggi were on the rampage as they stitched a partnership of 97 runs for the fifth wicket off only 75 balls , raising hopes of an improbable win for Jharkhand. But left arm spinner Pragyan Ojha had the last laugh, as he bowled Dhoni to pave the way for a comprehensive win for Bengal. Jharkhand were bowled out for 288 runs.
Although Sreevats Goswami and Abhimanyu Easwaran scored hundreds opening the batting for Bengal, it was Manoj’s knock towards the end that helped Bengal post a competitive total in excess of 300 runs. The Banegal captain remained not out for 75 runs off only 49 balls. His knock included 7 fours and 2 sixes.
A satisfied Manoj told xtratime.in on his way to the team hotel, “I am very happy to contribute to a winning cause. I was very determined to do well in this game. I wanted to prove a point to myself and the people that I am not finished yet. I did want to make a statement. That’s what I did. It feels nice to have contributed in the winning cause.”
According to the Bengal captain, it was a collective effort from the boys. “Everyone performed their role to perfection. It was a collective effort from the boys. Both Sreevats and Abhimanyu started well, scoring brilliant hundreds. Bowlers also performed well, with Dinda and Kanish giving us early breakthroughs. And Ojha just finished off the match with his five-fer. It was a hard fought win for us. I am very happy with the performance of the boys.”
On being asked what was going through his mind when Dhoni and Ishank were going great guns, plundering the Bengal bowlers to all corners of the ground, Manoj said, “I was always very positive about the win from the start after we posted 329 runs. Although they had 98 odd needed from 40 balls , it was a matter of time. Dhoni’s presence did makes a lot of difference to the opposition bowlers, but I always knew it was a matter of taking a wicket. We always had the cushion of 329 runs.”
Bengal next meets Tamil Nadu in the final to be played on March 20. The last time Bengal met TN, it was Dinesh Karthik and co. who had the last laugh. It will be a golden opportunity for Manoj and his team will be seeking a sweet revenge.
“Obviously we will take it just like another match. It will be another hard fought game. They (Tamil Nadu) are a good side. We have to keep this momentum going in the final as well,” said Manoj about the final coming up against TN.
Left arm spinner Pragyan Ojha played a crucial role by getting the prized wicket of Dhoni. Although he did went for a lot of runs, but it was his wicket that got Dhoni bowled, turned the tide in Bengal’s favour. He later followed it up with four more wickets with a match haul of 71/5.
According to Ojha, “I am very happy that I could contribute in the winning cause. My sole motivation has been to do well for the team. Everybody has contributed in the win today. Our batsman did well.”
On being asked what was going through when Dhoni and Ishank were going great guns, Pragyan said, “It was a very good batting wicket. To bowl at someone like Dhoni, who we all know how devastating he can be on his day was very challenging. I am happy that I was lucky to get Dhoni Bhai’s wicket at that stage.”
Cricket Association of Bengal President Sourav Ganguly called up Manoj and congratulated him. The former India captain was present in the capital to cheer the team. But the incident of fire breaking in Jharkhand’s team hotel postponed the final, which forced Sourav to come back to Kolkata.
“The boys have played terrific cricket today. In fact they have been playing well right throughout the season. Out of the last 16 matches we won 15, and that to me is phenomenal. Ojha had been terrific”
Sourav credited Manoj and his team for the win today.
On being asked whether Dhoni could have won the match for Jharkhand, the former India captain said, “If Dhoni stayed in the crease for 50 overs, he would have won the match for Jharkhand.