Rarely do you read the two words thrilling and draw together. The Elite Group B round 7 clash of the Ranji Trophy between Andhra and Bengal served a tasty finale, falling into the rare category of a thrilling draw thanks to a sporting declaration.
After Andhra failed to add anything to their overnight tally of 321, Bengal, having already conceded a first-innings lead, rushed to 223/7 in 40.3 overs and declared. They thus set a target of 203 runs for Andhra to win.
Opener Abhumanyu Easwaran struck 57 while Sudip Chatterjee scored 47 before both fell to Paidikalva Vijaykumar. An unbeaten run-a-ball 40 from Writtick Chatterjee despite quick wickets falling at the other gave captain Manoj Tiwary enough confidence to declare.
The temptation of an outright win hard to ignore for the hosts who went after the target thanks to a brisk 90 off 81 from opener Prasanth Kumar. They had lost CR Gnaneshwar early before Prasanth and Jyothi Krishna set the platform with a 84-run partnership for the second wicket. Krishna was out after hitting 45 off 41 but Ashok Dinda and Mukesh Kumar then ran through their middle-order reducing them to 147/5. Prasanth kept the fight alive before becoming the seventh wicket to fall.
Andhra finished on 170/7 in 28 overs before the play ended but having secured a first innings lead, took three points while Bengal had to remain content with a single point.
Brief Scores: Andhra 321 and 170/7 (Prashanth Kumar 90; Ashok Dinda 3/50) drew with Bengal 300 and 223/7 (Abhimanyu Easwaran 57; Yarra Prithviraj 2/49)