A third wicket partnership of 108 runs between Devang Gandhi and Srikkanth Kalyani enabled Bengal to draw their Ranji Trophy Super League encounter at the Eden Gardens on Sunday. Chasing a victory target of 310 in 46 overs, Bengal finished the day at 180 runs for the loss of five wickets. Earlier, Rajasthan had declared their second innings closed at 216 for the loss of eight wickets. Rajasthan managed five points from the match. Bengal, on the other hand finished with three and their chances of qualifying for the knockout stage now appear slim as they have two tough matches against Karnataka and Mumbai.
It was a day when a number of personal achievements were recorded. Utpal Chatterjee took five wickets in the second innings once more to have match figures of 10 for 160. It was the fourth time that Chatterjee recorded a haul of 10 wickets in a Ranji Trophy game and the 20th time that he had five wickets in an innings. Kalyani became the 27th player and fourth from Bengal to score over 5,000 runs in the Ranji Trophy. When he reached 40, square cutting left arm spinner D.P.Singh, Kalyani had joined the elite ranks of Pankaj Roy, Arun Lal and Ashok Malhotra from Bengal.
Bengal, aspiring for an outright win had two early successes in the day. Skipper Chatterjee sent back Nikhil Doru and off spinner Sourashis Lahiri accounted for Kuldip Singh to have Rajasthan tottering at 96 for 5. However, a sixth wicket stand of 90 between Sanjeev Sharma (54 with seven boundaries) and Saket Bhatia (48, 8x4) dashed their hopes. The partnership was finally broken by Lahiri who had Sharma bowled as the batsman tried to swing him over mid wicket. Shortly afterwards, the Rajasthan skipper Gagan Khoda declared the innings at 216.
When Bengal batted, Sanjeev Sharma had Alokendu Lahiri caught behind and Singh had Rohan Gavaskar caught bat-pad at short leg to have Bengal tottering at 23 for two. But Gandhi and Kalyani with some fine strokes brought things under control. Gandhi had one huge six over mid wicket of Jaykumar and eight boundaries in his 67. Kalyani who got his second fifty of the match also had eight fours in his 56. Most of them came through pleasing drives in the `V' between mid on and mid of. At final draw of stumps Saba Karim (17) and LR Shukla (1) were at the crease.