KOLKATA: Andhra’s stupendous all-round show floored Bengal by 101 runs in the final Group ‘B’ super league cricket match of the Ranji Trophy at the Eden Gardens here on Thursday.
The win earned Andhra five points and it has 17 from six games while Bengal, having lost its fourth match, will be relegated to the Plate division next season.
Andhra’s success was based on responsible batting, disciplined bowling and keen fielding.
Stressing on these virtues, team’s coach, Syed Abid Ali, said, “we endeavoured to play like one unit. The team’s strength is being together in any situation.”
Having figured in the final of the National championship for the last two seasons, Bengal’s fall from grace was rapid and ignominious.
The last time when Bengal faced a similar situation in the 2004-05 season, it extricated itself by beating Madhya Pradesh.
But this time three successive defeats at home against Orissa (at Siliguri), Uttar Pradesh and Andhra here (all within three days) completed Bengal’s tale of woe.
Resuming at 147 for six, Andhra added 43 runs before being dismissed for 190.
Ranadeb Bose added three more to his overnight four wickets to end with seven for 74, his 18th five-wicket and fifth 10-wicket haul (10 for 121) in a first class match.
Normally, a target of 214, should not have posed a problem to a side high on spirit, but for a side with low morale, it looked insurmountable.
By lunch, Andhra had reduced Bengal to 35 for three and the lone hope Manoj Tiwary looked good in scoring 17 runs.
The pitch, having lost its pace a bit, still offered movement and carry. The ball came nicely to the bat and Bengal needed someone to stay at the wicket and build one solid partnership.
Tiwary did look in good nick but chose the wrong ball for a short-arm pull and dragged it onto his stumps off Y. Gnaneswara Rao for a well-made 35.
Skipper Laxmi Ratan Shukla’s late flourish for 39 did not matter as P. Vijay Kumar, sticking to an accurate line and length, completed his second five-wicket haul of the match and end with 10 for 87, his best so far.
Gnaneswara Rao too registered his first five-wicket haul, ending with magic figures of five for 16.
Andhra — 1st innings: 121.
Bengal — 1st innings: 98.
Andhra — 2nd innings: H. Watekar c Saha b Mukherjee 67, L.N.P. Reddy c Saha b Paul 12, D. Kalyan Krishna lbw b Bose 12, Y.G. Rao c Dinda b Bose 6, A.S.K. Varma c Saha b Bose 6, B. Sumanth lbw b Bose 1, M.S.K. Prasad c Saha b Bose 54, A.G. Pradeep c Mondal b Paul 22, G.S. Rao c Saha b Bose 2, I. Raju c Majumdar b Bose 0, P. Vijay Kumar (not out) 6, Extras (lb-1, w-1): 2; Total (in 64.1 overs): 190.
Fall of wickets: 1-47, 2-88, 3-98, 4-104, 5-104, 6-109, 7-154, 8-159, 9-159.
Bengal bowling: Bose 26.1-6-74-7, Paul 20-7-41-2, Dinda 9-2-38-0, Chowdhury 3-1-19-0, Mukherjee 6-2-17-1.
Bengal — 2nd innings: A. Majumdar c Prasad b Vijay Kumar 8, A. Das c G.S. Rao b Vijay Kumar 9, W. Saha c Watekar b Vijay Kumar 0, M. Tiwary b Y.G. Rao 35, K.H. Mondal lbw b Vijay Kumar 0, L.R. Shukla lbw b Vijay Kumar 39, R. Chowdhury c Prasad b Y.G. Rao 1, P. Mukherjee lbw b Y.G. Rao 0, A. Dinda c Watekar b Y.G. Rao 0, R. Bose lbw b Y.G. Rao 8, S.S. Paul (not out) 6, Extras (lb-5, nb-1): 6; Total (in 29.5 overs): 112.
Fall of wickets: 1-9, 2-9, 3-27, 4-35, 5-65, 6-70, 7-70, 8-88, 9-98.
Andhra bowling: Kalyan 6-1-18-0, Vijay Kumar 13-3-56-5, Raju 4-0-15-0, Sankara Rao 1-0-2-0, Gnaneshwar Rao 5.5-3-16-5.