Mahesh Rawat once again proved to be Bengal's nemesis as his quickfire 55 ensured three important points for the Railways even as the hosts got themselves into the relegation zone after the seventh round Group league encounter of the Ranji Trophy cricket tournament in Kolkata.
After setting a victory target of 265 runs in 63 overs, Bengal bowlers had Railways in a spot of bother at 75 for five, before Rawat along with Karn Sharma (48) added 97 runs in just over 20 overs to put paid to Bengal's hopes of an outright win.
In the end, Railways finished their second innings at 198 for eight and the three points took their tally to 16 points and they would be eyeing a big outright possibly with bonus points in their last game against Uttar Pradesh at home.
Bengal are now languishing at eighth position in the nine-team pool with 12 points and an away match to go against Madhya Pradesh at Indore.
With Jammu and Kashmir having finished their Group league engagements with 12 points and UP at the bottom with nine points, all Bengal need is a point and 13 from eight games would be good enough to beat the drop.
In the morning, Bengal batted for another 30 overs to declare their second innings at 298 for eight in 97.4 overs.
Pint-sized wicketkeeper-batsman Shreevats Goswami remained unbeaten on 77 with seven boundaries off 151 balls.
Chasing 265, openers Amit Paunikar (5) and Nitin Bhille (3) were dismissed cheaply by Laxmi Ratan Shukla and Ashok Dinda respectively.
By the 34th over, Arnab Nandi (17), Rohan Bhosale (33), Arindam Ghosh (12) were all back in the pavilion with scoreboard reading 75 for five.
However Rawat played a typical counterattacking innings as his 55 came off only 57 balls and had as many as nine boundaries.
Left-hander Karn scored 48 off 88 balls hitting six fours and a six.
There was a collapse late in the day after Karn was caught by Wriddhiman Saha trying to cut left-arm spinner Amit Banerjee. Ashish Yadav (1) and Rawat also followed Karn as Railways were 183 for eight in the 58th over.
With a shade over five overs play remaining, Prashant Awasthi (0 no) and Anureet Singh (15 no) consumed precious deliveries to give their team an outside chance of qualifying for next stage.
Bengal 268 and 298/8 decl (Shreevats Goswami 77 no, Wriddhiman Saha 46, Ashish Yadav 3/40)
Railways 302 and (target 265) 198/8 (Mahesh Rawat 55, Karn Sharma 48, Amit Banerjee 3/40).
Shardul five-for gives Mumbai 169 runs win over Baroda
Vadodara: Pacer Shardul Thakur returned with a five-wicket haul to guide Mumbai to a comfortable 169 runs win over Baroda in a Group A Ranji Trophy match.
Chasing a mammoth 408 runs for an outright win, Baroda were bowled out for 238 in 77.3 overs in their second innings.
Coming out to bat at the overnight score of 67 for two, Baroda lost wickets at regular intervals with Thakur (5/39) doing the bulk of the damage to ensure the win for Mumbai.
Kedar Devdhar top-scored for Baroda with an unbeaten 58, while last man Munaf Patel struck a quickfire 3 off 35 balls towards the end of the innings. Opener Saurabh Wakaskar (48) and Deepak Hooda (32) were the other notable contributors for the hosts.
Besides Thakur, Balwinder Sandhu (2/23) and off-break bowler Akshay Girap (2/90) scalped two wickets apiece for Mumbai.
By virtue of this win, Mumbai will return home with six points from the match.
Mumbai: 287 & 304/9 decl in 67 overs (Shreyas Iyer 90, Nikhil Patil 50 not out; Yusuf Pathan 5/80)
Baroda: 184 & 238 all out in 77.3 overs (Kedar Devdhar 58 not out, Munaf Patel 53; Shardul Thakur 5/39).
Assam trounce Andhra to earn bonus point
Guwahati: Assam earned a crucial bonus point after humbling Andhra Pradesh by 10 wickets in the Group C Ranji Trophy match.
Chasing a paltry 24 for a win on the fourth and final day's play at the Barsapara Cricket Stadium, the Dheeraj Jadhav-led Assam cantered to a win in 12.1 overs with more than a session to spare.
Starting the day on 116 for six, the Mohammad Kaif-led Andhra were bundled out for 198 with Assam left-arm spinner Jamaluddin Syed Mohammad (5-27) bagging his third five-wicket haul in first-class matches.
But the star for Assam was Swarupam Parkayastha, who not only bagged six wickets in both the innings, but also hit an unbeaten 108 in his side's first innings to earn the man-of-the-match award.
Parkayastha also stitched a crucial 134-run seventh-wicket partnership with Syed Mohammad (66) to help Assam post 312 in response to Andhra's first-innings core of 137.
Andhra 137 and 198 all out in 90.2 overs (Naren Reddy 51 not out; Jamaluddin Syed Mohammad 5-27)
Assam 312 and 25/0 in 12.1 overs (Pallavkumar Das 16 not out, Arun Karthik 9 not out).
Kerala thrash Services to clinch first win
Kannur: Kerala registered their first win of the season as they crushed Services by nine wickets on the fourth and final day of their Group C Ranji Trophy.
Kerala shot out Services for 174 from 45.4 overs in their second innings after being forced to follow on with Akshay Chandran returning with figures of 6/39.
The visiting side added 51 runs from the 13.4 overs they batted today after resuming the day at 123 for 6 at the Conor Vayal Stadium, Tellicherry.
That left Kerala to score just 10 runs to win and they completed the formalities an hour into the morning session of the final day though they falling narrowly short of picking up a bonus point.
The home side lost Abhishek Hegde (0) to the first ball of the fourth innings, caught at slip while pressing forward to defend the left-arm spinner Saurabh Kumar.
Kerala took six points from the match – their penultimate league game -- and they remained technically in the hunt for a knock-out berth.
Kerala 483 and 10 for 1
Services 318 and (f/o) 174 all out in 45.4 overs (Nakul Verma 40 not out, Saurabh Kumar 41, Akshay Chandran 6/39)
Quadri, Nadeem duo sets up easy win over Jharkhand
Porvorim: Samar Quadri and Shahbaz Nadeem spun the web around Goa batsmen to set up the platform for Jharkhand's comfortable eight wicket win over the home team in a Group C Ranji Trophy cricket match.
After grabbing four wickets in the first innings, Quadri (5/82) once again demolished Goa in the second essay with his legbreak googly to return with a match haul of nine for 146.
Quadri was ably supported by left-arm spinner Nadeem (4/60) as Jharkhand bundled out Goa for 223 runs in 77.4 overs in their second innings, thereby setting up a paltry target of 54 runs for the visitors to chase for an outright win on the final day of the four-day match.
For Keenan Vaz top-scored in the second innings with a patient 45, while skipper Swapnil Asnodkar made 38.
Jharkhand easily overwhelmed the target in 19.4 overs, reaching 55 for the loss of two wickets.
After the early loss of Virat Singh and Shiv Gautam, wicket-keeper Ishan Kishan (29 not out) and skipper Kumar Deobrat (17) finished off the chase for Jharkhand with no further damage.
Sagar Naik (2/26) picked up both the Jharkhand wickets to fall in their second innings.
Jharkhand: 385 & 55 for two in 19. 4 overs (Ishan Kishan 29 not out, Kumar Deobrat 17 not out; Sagar Naik 2/26).
Goa: 215 & 223 all out in 77.4 overs (Keenan Vaz 45, Swapnil Asnodkar 38; Samar Quadri 5/82, Shahbaz Nadeem 4/60).
Image: Assam players celebrate after winning