Saurashtra 404 (Vasavada 81, Jani 60, Mukesh 4-111) and 14 for 1 (V Jadeja 10*, Desai 4*, Deep 1-5) beat Bengal 174 (Shahbaz 69, A Porel 50, Sakariya 3-33) and 241 (Tiwary 68, Majumdar 61, Unadkat 6-85) by nine wickets
Those hopes came crashing down just like that, after a grave misjudgment in trying to steal a third run in the sixth over of the day. Could they have just settled for two? Perhaps. Was there a chance of a third? Definitely. Was there a miscommunication? Most definitely.
By then, Shahbaz had already turned and was more than halfway down the pitch. He didn’t even bother looking back as Unadkat pounced on the ball to knock off the bails and celebrate wildly. A crestfallen Tiwary looked heavenwards, not wanting to make eye contact while a disappointed Shahbaz yanked his gloves and stormed off. At 194 for 5, Bengal were still 36 behind.
With a rookie in Abishek Porel and the lower order to follow, the onus was now on Tiwary to put behind him the run-out. But it seemed as if it was playing on his mind over and over again. A nothing waft to gully off Unadkat two overs after Shahbaz’s wicket all but sealed Bengal’s fate.
Tiwary’s slow walk back for a defiant 67 told you a story – of being so near, yet so far. This was his fourth crack at Indian domestic cricket’s biggest prize, and in all probability, the fourth time the title was going to elude him. Laxmi Ratan Shukla, the coach, didn’t waste a moment in walking over to quietly to give Tiwary a pat, even though he knew it was game over.
By then, Bengal’s lower order had decided they were going to throw their bats at everything. And in doing so, there were some mistakes and wholesome entertainment all at once, as Abishek pulled one straight down to deep square off Chetan Sakariya.
Soon after, Unadkat once again showed his absolute mastery with the old ball in reversing it from around the wicket to have Akash Deep lbw, and Akash Ghatak clean bowled for his fifth wicket. Ishan Porel and Mukesh Kumar then swung their bats at everything and wiped out the deficit, much to the dressing room’s amusement. When Unadkat ended the innings with a slower ball to flatten Ishan’s stumps, Saurashtra had to come out and knock off only 12 runs to win.
A jubilant Sheldon Jackson sprinted to the stumps to pick one for posterity, only to be told there was a simple matter of knocking off a handful of runs. But that didn’t take long to come, and while they lost Jay Gohil, his opening partner Hardik Desai and Vishwaraj Jadeja brought up victory soon after with a boundary.
(With Inputs from ESPN)
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