Bengal bowlers failed to bag more than seven wickets as Services batted out 77 overs on the final day to secure a point from their Group D Ranji Trophy encounter, here today. Chasing an improbable target of 355 runs from minimum 77 overs, Services managed to hang on, ending at 212 for seven after Bengal batted an hour on the final day to declare on 161 for five in 22 overs. On a placid Airforce Sports Complex track, it would have always been difficult to get 20 wickets. Bengal skipper Manoj Tiwary possibly can't be blamed for giving a bit of rest to his bowlers after they send down 111.2 overs in the Services first innings. Bengal did harbour serious thoughts of victory after 43 overs when half of the Services team were back in the pavilion for 124 runs. The bowlers had another 34 overs to get the remaining five wickets but left-handed Vikas Hathwala (64, 71 balls) and Muzaffaruddin Khalid (9 no off 99 balls) added 75 runs for the sixth wicket but more importantly consumed nearly 22 overs to frustrate the Bengal attack. Amir Gani (1/57 in 26 overs) was not as effective as in the first innings and the Services duo, especially Khalid was ready to block anything and everything on an easy track. Services were 208 for seven at the end of the 70th over with another seven overs of play left. But Khalid decided to take bulk of the strike with Shamsher Yadav (4 no, 18 balls) for company as the match ended in a draw. Brief scores: Bengal: 552/9 decl & 161/5 decl (Abhimanyu Easwaran 46, Wriddhiman Saha 22). Services: 359 & (target 355) 212/7 decl (Vikas Hathwala 64, Muzaffaruddin Khalid 9 not out; Kanishk Seth 2/18). Points: Bengal 3; Services 1 Other Group D games: Himachal Pradesh: 729/8 decl & 145/6 (Paras Dogra 45, Prashant Chopra 22). Punjab: 601 (Abhishek Gupta 202, Abhishek Sharma 94). Points: Punjab 1; Himachal Pradesh 3 Chattisgarh: 455 Goa: 277 and 170/7 (Sumit Ruikar 5/29). Points: Chattisgarh 3; Goa 1. Group B match: Rajasthan: 330 & 246/4 (Rajesh Bishnoi 101, Mahipal Lomror 65). J&K: 436/8 decl (Ahmed Bandy 102, Parveez Rasool 97). Points: J&K 3 Rajasthan 1.
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