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The Hindu
The Hindu
Ashwin Achal

Vijay Hazare Trophy 2023 | Kerala pips Saurashtra in low-scoring thriller

Set a target of 186, Kerala struggled for momentum as wickets fell regularly. Captain and key batter Sanju Samson (30, 47b, 6x4) was the fourth to fall, cutting a short ball from pacer Ankur Panwar to deep point.

Akhil Scaria (28, 54b, 1x4, 2x6) and Abdul Bazith (60, 76b, 9x4, 1x6) put on an 88-run fifth wicket stand to get Kerala back on track.

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The dismissals of Scaria, Bazith and Sijomon Joseph then put Shreyas Gopal in the hot seat. Gopal (21 n.o., 33b, 2x4), who moved to Kerala from Karnataka at the start of the season, kept his cool to guide his team home.

The match ended when Basil Thampi hammered spinner Parth Bhut for a massive straight six.

Earlier, Saurashtra recovered from a disastrous start to post 185.

Vishvarajsinh Jadeja (98, 121b, 5x4, 5x6) and captain Jaydev Unadkat (37, 54b, 4x4) came together with the defending champion reeling at 65 for seven.

Saurashtra batter Vishvarajsinh Jadeja in action against Kerala in the Vijay Hazare match. (Source: SUDHAKARA JAIN)

Just when Unadkat looked settled, he pulled a long hop from spinner Gopal to mid-wicket. Jadeja went on the offensive when he was joined by the tail-enders.

Jadeja cleared the ropes on five occasions, while ensuring that Saurashtra bats nearly its full quota of overs. He was the last man to go, brilliantly caught by a diving one-handed effort from wicketkeeper Samson.

Fast bowler Akhin Sathar, making his debut, shone bright with four wickets. In another encounter, Pondicherry defeated Railways by 22 runs.

The scores:

Saurashtra 185 in 49.1 overs (Vishvarajsinh Jadeja 98, Jaydev Unadkat 37, Akhin Sathar 4/39) lost to Kerala 188/7 in 47.4 overs (Sanju Samson 30, Akhil Scaria 28, Abdul Bazith 60, Ankur Panwar 4/50)

Tripura 107 in 29 overs (Biplab Samantaray 5/32, D. Pradhan 4/14) lost to Odisha 108/6 in 23.2 overs (Senapati 41, Samantaray 29).

Pondicherry 172 in 49.1 overs (Fabid Ahmed 64, Yuvraj 4/25, Karn Sharma 3/50) bt Railways 150 in 45.3 overs (C. Shivam 63, Merai 38, Mathew 4/41).

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