Calcutta: Bengal saved their worst for the last.
Having come up with three days of horrendous cricket, their performance dipped even a rung below. Bengal failed to chase a paltry 102 in their last appearance of this edition’s Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, against Kerala, who won the Group B game by 19 runs, at the Bandra Kurla Complex ground, in Mumbai, on Friday.
The victory helped Kerala move up to the second position in the group, behind Baroda.
Bengal’s campaign was already over when they surrendered to Delhi on Thursday, their third defeat in as many matches. But an opportunity to finish on a high was still there, especially when they restricted Kerala to 101 for eight after putting them in.
What Bengal batsmen produced was another pathetic display to fold up for just 82 in 16.5 overs.
Bowlers, though, once again stuck to their job, with Pritam Chakraborty and stand-in captain Sourashish Lahiri taking two wickets apiece to make rival batsmen’s job more and more difficult. Even the in-form Sanju Samson could score just one before being run out by Pankaj Shaw.
It was purely due to Rohan Prem’s 51 that Kerala were able to reach three figures.
In reply, Bengal struggled from over No. 1 itself, as batsmen just came and went without bothering the scorers. Both Avilin Ghosh and Pankaj departed scoring 27 runs each, failing to convert their starts.
The next ‘best’ score after that of Avilin and Pankaj was eight from Sayan Ghosh, only reflecting the present condition of the Bengal batting line-up in the absence of the Laxmi Ratan Shuklas and Manoj Tiwarys.