Scintillating Shahbaz helps Tapan win Bengal T20 Challenge title

Skipper Shahbaz Ahamed put up an all-round masterclass to guide Tapan Memorial to Bengal T20 Challenge title, beating Mohun Bagan by 33 runs in the final at Eden Gardens here on Wednesday.

Tapan skipper scored 54 and picked up five wickets for just 10 runs in his quota of four overs to help Tapan propel his team to the third win against Bagan in the tournament. And the sweetest of those came in the final.

Earlier, Mohun Bagan won the toss and elected to bowl. Tapan Memorial got off to a shaky start losing four wickets for 40 runs as Bagan pacer Akash Deep and experienced spinner Rajkumar Pal bagged two wickets apiece.

Skipper Shahbaz Ahamed along with in-form batter Kaif Ahamad came to Tapan’s rescue as they arrested the slide by stitching a 78-run partnership. Shahbaz smashed a fluent 41-ball 54 (2x4s, 4x6s) before being caught by Akash off Anurag Tiwary while Kaif stayed unbeaten on 39, as the team scored 145 for six wickets in 20 overs.

While defending Tapan spinners made life difficult for Bagan batsmen and bundled them out for 112 in 18 overs, to emerge victorious.

Bagan skipper Anustup Majumdar who was the highest scorer of the tournament with 370 runs also put up a good show with the willow, scoring a 32-ball 46.

Ramesh Prasad ended up as the highest wicket-taker of the tournament with 23 wickets, including two wickets in the final.

“Last evening I had a niggle and physio Aditya da really worked hard to get me fit for today. We had a shaky start, but Kaif and me had a good partnership and we were always confident that if we bowl in the right spots we could win,” said Shahbaz while receiving the Man-of-the-Match award.

In 15 days, 33 games were played behind closed doors amid strict bio-bubble protocol.

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