Veteran all-rounder Jalaj Saxena ran riot against Bengal in the penultimate match of the Ranji Trophy group stage on Monday, 12 February. Saxena, who had already picked 9 wickets in the first innings of the match, picked four more to hand an emphatic win to Kerala.
Bengal were always at a disadvantage after conceding a massive lead in the first innings of the match and despite a fight from Abhimanyu Easwaran and Shabaz Ahmed, they lost by 109 runs. The win propelled Kerala (14 points) to third in the Group B table behind leaders Mumbai (30) and Andhra (25).
Ranji Trophy: Jalaj Saxena’s heroics
This was Bengal’s second successive defeat of the season as the last edition’s runners-up slipped to sixth spot and their knockout qualification hopes were practically over. Bengal had endured an innings defeat to Mumbai at home in their previous outing.
The veteran spin-bowling all-rounder – Saxena followed up his 9/68 in the first innings to pocket 4/104 – as Bengal were bowled out for 339 in their tough chase of 449 runs.
Opener Abhimanyu Easwaran completed his second fifty of the match after Bengal resumed the day on 77/2. But Saxena gave the breakthrough first dismissing Anustup Majumdar (16) and then halted Abhimanyu’s patient innings for 65 off 119 balls.
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Jalaj Saxena bowled a spectacular spell of 9â£/6â£8â£ to help Kerala bowl Bengal out for 180 in first innings in Trivandrum.
Relive ð½ï¸ his magnificent spell ð½@IDFCFIRSTBank | #RanjiTrophy
Scorecard â¶ï¸ pic.twitter.com/xA5heOucfM
— BCCI Domestic (@BCCIdomestic) February 12, 2024
Playing his penultimate match of his career, veteran Manoj Tiwary also became Saxena’s victim falling cheaply for 35. Tiwary has announced that he will finally call it a day after Bengal’s last league match against Bihar at Eden Gardens from February 16.
Returning to action after a two-month injury layoff, Bengal premier all-rounder Shahbaz Ahmed was the lone warrior for as he chipped in with an entertaining 100-ball 80 which included 8 boundaries and 2 sixes. Ahead of the Indian Premier League, this will Shabaz good confidence after the player was traded to SunRisers Hyderabad.
Karan Lal gave him support with a 78-ball 40 in an 83-run alliance for the seventh wicket.
But it was just a formality for the visitors with Basil Thampi (2/8 from 2.4 overs) wiping out the tail, first by effecting the run-out of India Test-bound Akash Deep and then dismissing Shahbaz.
Feb 12, 2024