Jaipur: A resolute unbeaten century by opener Vineet Saxena was the high point for defending champions Rajasthan who finished their Ranji Trophy league engagements with a tame draw against Hyderabad in a Group `A` match here today.
The result meant Rajasthan earned three points from the drawn tie and warded off relegation by a whisker after settling for 11 points from eight matches. On the other hand, Hyderabad, with one point from this match, were relegated to Group C after finishing at the bottom of the table with 10 points from an equal number of games.
Rajasthan, who had restricted Hyderabad to 349 in reply to their first innings total of 384, scored 329 for nine in their second essay and set an improbable 365-run target for the hosts on the final day.
Resuming the day at 103 for two, Rajasthan kept losing wickets at regular intervals but Saxena held the one end together and batted patiently for his 310-ball 146.
Saxena`s knock was laced with 21 fours.
For Hyderabad, Amol Shinde was the most successful bowler with four for 84.
Chasing 365 to win, Hyderabad were 38 for no loss when both captains mutually decided to end the proceedings with Hanuman Vihari and Akshath Reddy batting on 15 and 23 respectively.
At the post-match press conference, Saxena defended his captain`s decision not to go for an outright win.
"An outright too could have proved inconsequential and we were already assured of a place in the Group. So, it was not a risk worth taking. By the time first drinks were taken we had lost a couple of wickets more and there was a remote chance for the visitors," said Saxena.
"They had nothing to lose and thus we decided to put our heads down and play for a draw. Though we failed to qualify for the knockout this time we have the consolation of maintaining the place in the group for the next season," he added.
Points: Rajasthan 3, Hyderabad 1.