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The Hindu
The Hindu
Sports Bureau

Vijay Hazare Trophy | Kerala’s generosity saves Mumbai from further embarrassment


Kerala missed a golden opportunity to book a quarterfinal berth in the 2023-24 Vijay Hazare Trophy after it lost its last group-stage match to Railways by 18 runs at the Kini Sports Arena Ground here on Tuesday.

With Mumbai, in a parallel encounter, succumbing to its second straight dispiriting defeat, this time to Odisha by 86 runs at the Alur Cricket Stadium, all Kerala had to do was beat Railways to emerge atop Group-A.

Despite Sanju Samson’s fine century (128, 139b, 8x4, 6x6), Kerala couldn’t chase down Railways’ 256-run target. Kerala and Mumbai finished on 20 points each, but the latter took first position by virtue of having beaten Kerala earlier in the competition.

Kerala will thus meet Maharashtra in the pre-quarterfinal on Dec. 2, with the winner set to face Rajasthan in the last eight. Mumbai will square up against Tamil Nadu in a marquee quarterfinal clash on Dec.11.

After choosing to field, Kerala reduced Railways to 19 for two, only for the Sahab Yuvraj Singh (121 n.o., 136b, 13x4, 1x6) and Pratham Singh (61, 77b, 2x4, 3x6) to come together for a 148-run partnership. Yuvraj Singh then combined for 62 runs with captain and wicket-keeper Upendra Yadav (31, 27b, 3x4, 1x6) to carry Railways to a competitive total.

The Kerala top-order failed, first reduced to 26 for three and then 59 for four. But Samson and Shreyas Gopal (53, 63b, 5x4) rebuilt the innings with a 138-run association.

However, Shreyas’ dismissal in the 45th over, and the double blow of losing Abdul Bazith and Akhil Scaria — both capable batters — for the addition of zero runs, left the pursuit even beyond Samson.

At Alur, Mumbai couldn’t chase down a 200-run target and was bundled out for 113. That No. 11 batter Royston H. Dias was the top-scorer (24, 16b, 2x4, 2x6) told the story. Only Kerala’s generosity saved Mumbai from further embarrassment.

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