Saurashtra thrash Bengal to keep quarterfinal hopes alive
Rajkot: Ravindra Jadeja finished with a match-haul of eight wickets as Saurashtra thrashed Bengal comprehensively by 270 runs in a Ranji Trophy group league encounter which kept their chance of qualifying for the knock-out stage alive.
Chasing a massive target of 431 was out of question as Bengal`s innings terminated at 160 in only 55.4 overs at the fall of ninth wicket. Skipper Manoj Tiwary didn`t bat due to severe back injury. Jadeja picked 4/50 in the second innings while veteran Nayan Doshi got three wickets.
The six points from the match took Saurashtra`s tally to 15 points and they are second in Group A. Bengal remained on seven points and are placed seventh with two matches remaining.
One couldn`t have expected a better all-round show from Jadeja who scored 70 and 68 in both innings and had a match-haul of 8/98 which would certainly boost his confidence as he leaves for Nagpur to join his teammates for the fourth and final Test against England.
Starting the day at 65 for three, it was a near-impossible task for the inept Bengal line-up which has faltered consistently during the away matches.
Left-handed opener Rohan Banerjee grinded for more than three hours to score 47 hitting only three fours in the process during the 149 balls that he faced. He added 57 runs with Abhishek Jhunjhunwala (25) for the fourth wicket.
Once Jhunjhunwala was bowled by Jadeja playing to a wrong line, the others didn`t show any stomach for fighting it out.
Veteran Laxmi Ratan Shukla played a cameo as he blasted 35 runs off only 12 balls with the help of four boundaries and three sixes. Although it was a brief entertainment for his teammates, Shukla knew that he had thrown caution to the wind as it was already a lost battle.
Finally Doshi got him out, caught by Shitanshu Kotak as the brisk 39-run partnership for the fifth wicket ended in a jiffy.
For Bengal, with no Ashoke Dinda or Tiwary in their final two matches, it will be a very difficult task to even survive in Group A with a batting line-up which doesn`t have players who could consistently score in fisrt-class cricket.
Brief Scores: Saurashtra 209 & 333/8 decl.
Bengal 112 & 160 in 55.4 overs (target 431) (Rohan Banerjee 48, Ravindra Jadeja 4/50). Saurashtra won by 270 runs. Points: Saurashtra 6; Bengal 0.