Relegation threat looms large on hapless Bengal

Published: Thursday, December 20, 2007, 3:35 [IST]
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Kolkata: Bengal faces the relegation threat after being humiliated by Uttar Pradesh by an innings and 152 runs in their Ranji Trophy Super League Group-B tie at the Eden Gardens here on Wednesday.

Bengal were shot out for 193 in their second essay after being bundled out for 149 in their first in reply to UP's mammoth first innings total of 494 runs.

Only Anustup Majumdar (60) and skipper L R Shukla (41) showed some resistance while the other Bengal batsmen failed to apply themselves on a easy paced Eden Gardens strip.

Left-arm spinner P Gupta mesmerised Bengal batsmen with his guiles and reaped a rich harvest of 5/11, while S Tyagi (4/38) left Bengal clueless with his healthy medium pace.

The weakness that Bengal showed was in the mental make-up. They did not have the stomach for a fightback. They trooped in and went back like a pack of defeated soldiers.

Equally ineffective was Bengal's attack as Uttar Pradesh piled up 104 runs for the seventh wicket with Pravin Kumar hitting a swashbuckling 73 and Aamir Khan a fine 46.

After the match, Bengal captain said, '' We will have to turn back the tide in our favour. We have to win the last match with a bonus. We have to see it.''

But perhaps the biggest loser from the tie is Manoj Tewari, whose show of 2 and 24 in two innings lacked the conviction of the last season. Tiwary awarded with the Best U-22 player for his good run in the domestic circuit last season failed to deliver in this crunch game before the Chairman of National Selectors, Dilip Vensarkar.

Asked about his chances, Vensarkar said, ''You saw how he performed. However Suresh Raina furthered his cause with a smart 63 backed with a good effort in the field.

Bengal, the runners-up last season fared poorly this season having lost to Baroda, Orissa and UP while managing a lone win against Punjab.

They drew the tie against Hyderabad. They now play Andhra Pradesh in their last group tie.

Brief Scores:

Bengal Ist innings 149&193 (Anustup Majumdar 60, Laxmiratan Shukla 41, Arindam Das 31, Tiwary 24; Pravin Gupta 5 for 11, S Tyagi 4 for 38) lost to UP Ist innings 494 (Mohd Kaif 91, Parvin Kumar 67, Suresh Raina 63, Srivastava 58, Chawla 53, Aamir Khan 46; SS Paul 7 for 113).


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