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Pritam Das' brilliant death-over bowling secures victory for Assam against Hyderabad in Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy

In a nail-biting finish, Assam edged past Hyderabad to begin the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy with a win. The Board for Control of Cricket in India (BCCI) organised T-20 tournament kickstarted this week. In Assam’s first match at Eden Gardens on Sunday, they played against Hyderabad.

After winning the toss, Hyderabad’s skipper Tanmay Agarwal asked Assam to bat first. Captain and opener Rishav Das (2) could not get going. The other opener Pallav Kumar Das (13) played two classic cover drives, but then played a rusty shot and walked back to the pavilion. Wicket-keeper batsman, Silchar’s Abhishek Thakuri (6) too got off the mark with a cover drive that pierced the field and went to the boundary lines. He played to the hands of short cover and was dismissed.

Known for popularising Bihu Dance in the cricketing fraternity, Riyan Parag anchored the innings for Assam. He played a steady inning of 50 runs in 40 balls. Around him, Assam went on with its rebuilding exercise without losing the momentum. The batsmen played positive cricket and cameos from Saahil Jain (31) and Rajjakuddin Ahmed (31) helped Assam set a 160-run target for Hyderabad to chase.

Captain Tanmay Agarwal (15) and Tilak Verma (17) gave Hyderabad a good start but the former got out to a rusty shot. Kolla Sumanth (15) and Verma were stitching a partnership but good glove-work by Abhishek Thakuri got rid of Sumanth who was trying to convert a single into a double. Another Silchar boy, Rahul Singh bowled a wide cutter to get dangerous-looking Tilak Verma caught in the deep.

Himalay Agarwal (29), Rahul Buddhi (21), and 11-ball-24 from Ravi Teja was taking the match away from Assam. Hyderabad needed 29 runs from 12 balls, on strike was Tanay Thyagarajan (21) and Ravi Teja on the other end. Arup Das who had conceded 24 runs in three overs was handed over the ball to bowl the penultimate over. Arup gave away four boundaries leaving Hyderabad 11 runs to get from the last six balls.

Captain handed over the ball to star player of the state from Silchar, Pritam Das. His first ball to Ravi Teja went for four. Bringing the equation down to seven runs of five balls. Next ball, Pritam Das got Teja’s wicket with a yorker which the left-hander wanted to hit over mid-on but got caught by Riyan Parag in the boundary. Milind walked in for Hyderabad and smartly got Thyagrajan on strike. This is the same batsman who had hit Arup Das all over the park. He took two runs of the fourth ball, the fifth from Pritam was a dot. Hyderabad needed four runs of the last ball and Pritam bowled a yorker to restrict Thyagrajan to one, winning the match for Assam by three runs.

Pritam Das ended his spell of four overs by conceding 30 runs and picking three crucial wickets.

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