Rajkot, Sep 30: Shikhar Dhawan remained unbeaten on 99 after Ishant Sharma returned a four-wicket haul as India ‘A' thrashed Bengal by eight wickets in the opening match of the Challenger Series here on Saturday night.
It was an all-round performance by India ‘A' as they bundled out Bengal to a modest 193 and then overhauled the target with 12.4 overs to spare. This win they them a bonus point. They have five points while Bengal had -1 for conceding the bonus.
Skipper Wriddhiman Saha was the top scorer with his 65-run knock while Arnab Nandi (43) and Jayojit Basu (42) were the other notable scorers for Bengal.
Ishant (4-29) and spinner Pragyan Ojha (3-40) shared seven wickets between them as the Bengal batsmen struggled to score against the pace-spin duo.
Ojha removed Jayojit and Sandipan Das to hand India ‘A' a good start while Ishant scalped Saha, Debabrata Das (1), Sourav Sarkar (0) and Subomoy Das (9).
India ‘A' lost opener Robin Uthappa (25) early but left-handed Dhawan and Ajinkya Rahane (63) shared a match-winning 150-run stand for the second wicket to crush Bengal's hopes of making a comeback.
The stand was broken by Basu, who caught Rahane off his own bowling.
Rahane's knock came off 84 balls and with five shots to the fence. Dhawan paced his innings well as he took 112 balls for his knock, which was studded with 12 boundaries.
Skipper S Badrinath (6) remained unbeaten with Dhawan to steer his side home comfortably.
Brief scores: Bengal: 193 all out in 41.1 overs (Wriddhiman Saha 65, Arnab Nandi 43; Ishant Sharma 4-29, P Ojha 3-40) lostt to India A: 196/2 in 37.2 overs (Shikhar Dhawan 99 not out, Ajinkya Rahane 63).