Bowlers skittle out Bengal to keep Kerala’s chances alive

Baroda marched to an emphatic 10-wicket victory over an under-par Rajasthan at the Wankhede Stadium here on Friday and virtually sealed its place in the final of the BCCI Twenty20 tournament for the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy.

A three-way tie on points can happen should Rajasthan put it across Delhi and Kerala beat Baroda in the last round-robin super league matches. But this outcome would hardly jeopardise Baroda’s progress to the final because of the indemnity it enjoys on account of its far superior net run rate.

At the conclusion of the third-round of matches Baroda’s NRR is + 1.405 as against Kerala’s + 0.515 and Rajasthan’s – 0.219.

Restricted to 102 at the MCA-BKC recreation centre, Kerala swiftly hit back to deal Bengal its fourth defeat in a row and hope for a miracle on Saturday.

Playing its first match at Wankhede and invited to bat, the Rajasthan batsmen appeared to be all at sea facing a sustained and a probing line from a seam outfit in Munaf Patel, Rishi Arothe, Lukman Meriwala and Hardik Pandya.

Choked for runs by the halfway mark (45 for two), Rajasthan lost wickets in a heap thereafter with its in-form batsman Rajesh Bishnoi adjudged leg-before to left-arm spinner Kurnal Pandya.

The Baroda seamers have accounted for 48 wickets in seven matches with left-arm seamer Meriwala making quite an impression with 17 scalps in seven matches.

After a near-faultless performance by the seamers, the Baroda openers, captain Aditya Waghmode (50 not out, 54 balls, 5 x 4s) and Kedar Devdhar (45 not out, 42 balls, 5 x 4s) showed no hurry while approaching the small target which they achieved with 23 balls to spare.

The game of cricket was hardly entertaining to befit a Twenty20 match; in all 15 fours and three sixes were hit in the low-scoring match.

Hitting a low

After going down to Rajasthan in a match it should have won, Kerala hit a low against Bengal, crawling to 101 in 20 overs with only left-handed middle-order Rohan Prem digging in for 66 minutes to make 51 off 49 balls with three 4s and two 6s.

Six batsmen in the top-eight were dismissed for single-digit scores, and it required a 23-run stand for the eighth-wicket between Prem and P. Prashanth to take Kerala past the 100 run-mark. Seamer U. Manukrishnan played a vital role thereafter taking four wickets in Bengal’s rout for 82.

The Bengal batsmen were dismissed for single digit scores.The scores: Rajasthan 103 in 19.3 overs (Puneet Yadav 38, Rishi Arothe three for 29, Lukman Meriwala three for 12, Hardik Pandya two for 15) lost to Baroda 105 for no loss in 16.1 overs (Aditya Waghmode 50 n.o., Kedar Devdhar 45 n.o.). Baroda 4, Rajasthan 0.

Kerala 101 for eight in 20 overs (Rohan Prem, 51, Pritam Chakraborty two for nine, Saurasish Lahiri two for 11) bt Bengal 82 in 16.5 overs (A.P. Ghose 27, Pankaj Shaw 27, Manukrishnan four for six, P. Prasanth two for 18, K. J. Rakesh two for 14). Kerala 4, Bengal 0.

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