Bengal's Ranji Trophy aspirations for the 1999-2000 season ended on Thursday as they lost to Mumbai by 242 runs. Chasing a victory target of 381 runs, Bengal were bundled out for 138 runs.
The hosts, who were 67 for the loss of four wickets overnight, lost their remaining six batsmen in 107 minutes of play today. Romesh Powar and Rajesh Pawar picked up five wickets apiece to establish Mumbai's superiority. They finished with 32 points winning all their four matches. On the other hand, Bengal finished their league engagements with 13 points. The match was especially memorable for Ramesh Powar who followed his second innings score of 92 with his first five-wicket haul in the Ranji Trophy.
Much was expected of the overnight pair of Saba Karim and Rohan Gavaskar. However, the junior Gavaskar, playing his first match against Mumbai, disappointed in the second innings also. He played forward to the off-spinner Powar and was caught pad-bat at silly point by skipper Amol Muzumdar. Powar was also responsible for getting Saba Karim. The batsman who had hit him for two sixes over mid wicket tried to cut a delivery against the turn only to edge it on to his stumps. This was the last of the resistance.
If Powar had decimated the top half of Bengal it was the turn of the left arm spinner Rajesh Pawar to destroy the lower order. He took four wickets today and his victims were Utpal Chatterjee, Vishal Yadav, Nikhil Haldipur and Sourashis Lahiri. Pawar bowled flat today and deceived the batsmen by varying the length of his deliveries. He had Haldipur leg before with one that kept low and then bowled Yadav with a quicker delivery which surprised the batsman. Pawar had the outstanding figures of 9.1-3-32-4 today and his innings analysis read 19.1-5-60-5. Powar finished with five wickets for 46 runs of 23 overs, nine of which were maidens.
Bengal skipper Utpal Chatterjee blamed his batsmen for the poor show. ``We had Mumbai on the mat on the first day by dismissing them for 182. However, our batsmen did not have the grit and determination to fight it out. In the second innings the job became increasingly dificult. However, even then I feel that it was possible to survive for two days on this wicket.'' On the other hand, Muzumdar was all praise for his bowlers.