Kolkata, Apr 2: Skipper Laxmi Ratan Shukla struck an unbeaten 53 to set up former champions Bengal's 44-run win over Assam in the East Zone league match for the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy T20 tournament at Eden Gardens yesterday.
Shukla slammed seven fours in his 50-ball innings and Arnab Nandi's cameo of 28 not out from nine balls was studded with nine boundaries and one six.
The pair added 38 runs from 15 balls, propping Bengal's total to 161/4 after they were put in to bat.
Requiring more than eight runs an over, Assam failed to put up any fight after Shukla gave the breakthrough in Rishav Das (18) as the young and experienced offspinner duo of Aamir Gani (3/18) and Saurashish Lahiri (2/22) shared five wickets between them to seal an easy victory.
Pacer Ashok Dinda (2/29) grabbed two in the last over to bundle out Assam for 117 in 20 overs. Debutant Gani impressed with a tidy bowling as the India U-19 spinner picked two wickets in his first two overs before completing his quota with a third in Abu Nechim Ahmed.
Dheeraj Jadhav (38) was the top scorer for Assam but the veteran did not get any support at the other end and after he was dismissed by Nandi it was a one-way traffic for Bengal as Dinda returned to wipe the tail.
Earlier, Manoj Tiwary (32 from 31 balls) and Shukla shared 54 runs between them before Nandi's late spark took Bengal to a challenging total.
All praise for Nandi, skipper Shukla said: "He (Nandi) turned the match around, it was a fine innings with an array of strokes."
Brief Scores: Bengal 161/4 in 20 overs (Laxmi Ratan Shukla 53 not out, Manoj Tiwary 32, Arnab Nandi 28 not out) bt Assam 117 in 20 overs (Dheeraj Jadhav 38; Aamir Gani 3/18) by 44 runs.