Despite putting in their best effort, Bengal fell short of their dream as Saurashtra displaying an all-round performance won by 9 wickets to emerge Ranji Trophy champions at the Eden Gardens on Sunday.
After bowling Bengal out for 241 in their second innings, the visitors needed just 12 runs to win. The Jaydev Unadkat-led side got the job done easily, scoring 14/1 in 2.4 overs to bag their second title in three seasons.
After the win, an elated Unadkat heaped praise on his boys.
“We were superior in all the departments. Batting, bowling and fielding we were on top. Special mention to Arpit Vasavada for his contribution with the bat in the season. But I will say this is a team effort and we deserve to be champs,” Unadkat said.
On the other hand, Bengal head coach Laxmi Ratan Shukla assured that his team will come back stronger next season.
“The boys gave their best on the field, but Saurashtra played better cricket. There are a lot of positives to be taken from the season. I want fans and players to believe in the team and I can say that we will come back stronger and well prepared next season,” LR Shukla said after the match.
While skipper Manoj Tiwary also stood by his boys.
“The loss does hurt us a lot. It is difficult to express it. The toss did play a factor. If it had gone our way, the scenario would have been different. We were in the backfoot on Day 1 and that handed over the advantage to them. We tried our best to recover, but they were better team than us,” Manoj said.
Earlier, resuming the day from overnight score of 169/4, skipper Manoj Tiwary (68) and Shahbaz Ahmed (27) started the proceedings well but a mix-up between the two ran Shahbaz out to reduce Bengal to 194/5.
Thereafter, the visitors pounced on the opportunity, getting rid of Manoj followed by Abishek Porel (3), Akash Ghatak (4) and Akash Deep (1) to put the home side in a spot of bother at 205/9.
However, Ishan Porel (22) and Mukesh Kumar (15) gave the home side some hope of a fightback by adding a much-needed 36-run partnership for the final wicket.
The last-wicket stand, which helped Bengal avoid an innings defeat, finally ended at the hands of Unadkat.
Report- Pratyusha Mukherjee