Kolkata: Mahesh Rawat once again proved to be Bengal's nemesis as his quickfire 55 ensured three important points for the Railways even as the hosts got themselves into the relegation zone after the seventh round grpoup league encounter of the Ranji Trophy cricket tournament, here on Sunday.
After setting a victory target of 265 runs in 63 overs, Bengal bowlers did put the railwaymen in a spot reducing them to 75 for five before Rawat along with India international Karn Sharma (48) added 97 runs in just over 20 overs to put paid to Bengal's hopes of an outright win.
In the end, Railways finished their second innings at 198 for eight and the three points took their tally to 16 points and they would be eyeing a big outright possibly with bonus points in their last game against Uttar Pradesh at home.
Bengal are now languishing at eighth position in the nine-team pool with 12 points and an away match to go against Madhya Pradesh at Indore.
With Jammu and Kashmir having finished their group league engagements with 12 points and UP at the bottom with nine points, all Bengal need is a point and 13 from eight games would be good enough to beat the drop.
In the morning, Bengal batted for another 30 overs to declare their second innings at 298 for eight in 97.4 overs.
Pint-sized wicketkeeper-batsman Shreevats Goswami remained unbeaten on 77 with seven boundaries off 151 balls. Chasing 265, openers Amit Paunikar (5) and Nitin Bhille (3) were dismissed cheaply by Laxmi Ratan Shukla and Ashok Dinda respectively.
By the 34th over, Arnab Nandi (17), Rohan Bhosale (33), Arindam Ghosh (12) were all back in the pavilion with scoreboard reading 75 for five.
However Rawat played a typical counterattacking innings as his 55 came off only 57 balls and had as many as nine boundaries. Left-hander Karn scored 48 off 88 balls hitting six fours and a six.
There was a collapse late in the day after Karn was caught by Wriddhiman Saha trying to cut left-arm spinner Amit Banerjee. Ashish Yadav (1) and Rawat also followed Karn as Railways were 183 for eight in the 58th over.
With a shade over five overs play remaining, Prashant Awasthi (0 no) and Anureet Singh (15 no) consumed precious deliveries to give their team an outside chance of qualifying for next stage.
Bengal 268 and 298/8 decl (Shreevats Goswami 77 no, Wriddhiman Saha 46, Ashish Yadav 3/40)
Railways 302 and (target 265) 198/8 (Mahesh Rawat 55, Karn Sharma 48, Amit Banerjee 3/40).
Points: Railways 3; Bengal 1.