Bhatt's ton salvages draw for Gujarat, Bengal settle with 3-point
Bengal had to settle with three points as a gutsy unbeaten century by Rujul Bhatt enabled Gujarat salvage a draw on the final day of their Ranji trophy Group A tie at the Eden Gardens here today.
Bengal needed only six remaining Gujarat wickets to force an outright win, but the visitiors resuming at an overnight score of 18/4, rode on Bhatt's defiant knock to end the day on 272/8 and denied the hosts full-points.
Bengal had to be contended with three points by virtue of their first innings lead. In reply to Gujarat first knock of 260, Bengal had declared the innings at 526/7.
The final day started with a bang for the home state as Sourav Sarkar claimed seasoned camapaigner Veenugopal Rao, who switched to Gujarat from Andhra Pradesh this season, in the third over of the morning.
Rush Kalaria(23) and M Juneja (32) fought for a brief period before Iresh Saxena and Ashoke Dinda respectively ended the duo'o fight.
When they departed Gujarat were reeling at 103/7, and the match was well within Bengal's grasp as the hosts had almost one and half sessions of play to take final three wickets.
But Rahul Bhatt changed the script with his vallinat uunbeaten knock of 102.
He was ably supported by Rakesh Dhruv (83) in his endeavour.
The duo stood firm and kept Bengal bowlers at bay, adding 149 for the eight wicket.
When Shami Ahmed broke the resistence of Dhruv towards the fag end of the day Gujarat were well and truely out of the danger of losing the game.
While Bhatt unbeaten knock was studded with 13 sweetly timed boundaries and two towering sixes, Dhruv smashed 11 fours and three sixes in his 98-ball effort.
Bengal are now placed third with six points from three games in the nine-team group table, while Gujarat are sixth with five-points.