Indore: Wriddhiman Saha's match-saving innings of 92 enabled Bengal to get a point against Madhya Pradesh as they were able to avoid the ignominy of relegation from group B of the Ranji Trophy cricket tournament, here today by virtue of a drawn game.
The precious point that Bengal got courtesy Wriddhiman and Saurashish Lahiri (48 no) took their points tally to 13 -- one more than Jammu and Kashmir, who had finished their league engagements with 12 points from eight games.
Bengal thus managed to stay afloat in the elite tier despite finishing a horrible eighth out of nine teams. The other aspect of the match was Madhya Pradesh, who looked all but certain after the first session to make it to the quarter-finals, finished at 19 points -- one short of 40-time champions Mumbai, who were lucky to qualify.
Starting the day at 111 for one after being enforced follow-on, Bengal needed to bat out the whole day in order to save the game and ultimately finished at 303 for eight in 127 overs.
Effectively Bengal scored 192 in 88 overs sent down MP on the day.
Wriddhiman's 92 off 232 balls had 11 fours and he was out in the final over of the day. Veer Pratap Singh defended the five balls and Bengal managed to beat the drop.
Veteran Lahiri, who is in the team more for his batting abilities at No 9, also batted with dogged determination consuming 187 balls hitting nine fours.
When Bengal lost their seventh wicket in the form of Amit Banerjee at a score of 212 in the 73rd over, they still had around 55 overs to negotiate.
Wriddhiman and Saurashis then played out 53.5 overs adding 91 runs for the eighth wicket.
It was a lucky escape for Bengal in the year, former India captain Sourav Ganguly made his debut in cricket administration as the joint secretary of CAB.
Brief Scores: Madhya Pradesh 514/6 decl, Bengal 219 and 303/8 (Wriddhiman Saha 92, Abhishek Das 69, Saurashish Lahiri 48 no, Puneet Datey 4/72). Match Drawn.
Points: MP 3; Bengal 1.