A clutch of players starred in Kerala’s 14-run victory over Delhi in a super league match of the BCCI Twenty20 tournament for the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy at the Wankhede Stadium on Tuesday. The Rajasthan Royals gave Sanju Vishwanadh a one-match concession to play the opening league match for Kerala, but it was openers Vasudevan Jagadeesh and Karimuttathu Rakesh and the seam-spin combination of Vinod Kumar, Padmanabhan Prasanth and Rakesh who demonstrated their skill for their side to make a bright start in the competition.
Delhi needed 29 in the last two overs to force a win, but the two rookie right hand seamers Vinod Kumar and Basil Thampy held their nerves to keep control of the match, conceding just 15 runs and removing Pratyush Singh and the hard-hitting Varun Sood from the scene of action. ``Vinod and Thampy are raw and we are giving them exposure. Both bowled well. Our fielding was also outstanding, a plus point that put us ahead by twenty runs, which the batsmen should have actually scored after a very good start,’’ said coach Chandrakant Pandit.
Put into bat, Jagadeesh (52, 36b, 9 x 4s) and Rakesh (36, 32b, 2 x 4s) put on 89 for the first wicket off 66 balls, before off-spinner Yogesh Nagar strick twice removing the openers of successive balls and Kerala realised the pitfall of the shortest version of the game losing Rohan Prem soon. But Sanju Vishwanadh and Sachin Baby showed composure to take control of proceedings as Kerala posted a challenging target to an inexperienced opponent. A smart seamer Sumit Narwal and his new ball partner Vikas Tokas turned out to be innocuous on a good track and once Jagadeesh and Rakesh began to hit the ball over the in-field and pierced gaps on either side of the wicket runs flowed for the qualifier from South Zone.
Baroda outplayed Bengal and scored its fifth straight win in the competition (four in the West Zone league) with a three-pronged seam attack in Lukman Meriwala, Abhijit Karambelkar and Hardik Pandya skittling out the East Zone qualifier for a paltry 96. Openers A. A. Das and Vivek Singh gave a promising start making 20, but once they departed, wickets fell at regular intervals with Karambelkar dismantling the middle order. Sanjib Sanyal, who came to bat at No. 7 made a maximum of 13; in fact six Bengal batsmen were dismissed between individual scores of 10 and 13. Baroda raced to victory 14 overs.
Bengal will play Baroda and Delhi will take on Rajasthan in the matches to be played at the BKC on Wednesday.
Kerala 150 for 6 in 20 overs ( V. Jagadeesh 52, Karimuttathu Rakesh 36, Sachin Baby 28, Javed Khan 2 for 22, Varun Sood 2 for 29, Yogesh Nagar 2 for 29) bt Delhi 136 for 9 in 20 overs (Jagrit Anand 28, Varun Sood 22, K. Rakesh 3 for 34, Vinod Kumar 2 for 17, Padmanabhan Prasanth 2 for 23) by 14 runs at the Wankhede Stadium
Bengal 96 in 20 overs (Lukman Meriwala 3 for 19, Hardik Pandya 2 for 10, Abhijit Karambelkar 3 for 22) lost to Baroda 97 for 3 in 14 overs (A. A. Waghmode 27, Deepak Hooda 24 not out, A. Gani 2 for 28) by seven wickets at the BKC recreation centre.