Ranji Trophy semifinals: Umesh’s career-best destroys Kerala

Vidarbha’s Umesh Yadav in action. File

Vidarbha’s Umesh Yadav in action. File   | Photo Credit: PTI

The defending champion reached 171 for 5 in 45 overs after winning the toss and bundling out Kerala for 105 in the first innings.

Umesh Yadav might be excused if he felt he was still on the tour of Australia with the Indian Test team. The pitch he got to bowl on at the Wayanad Cricket Stadium on Thursday was green-tinged and lively.

He made perfect use of it to run through the Kerala batting on the opening day of the Ranji Trophy semifinal. Though Vidarbha has moved ahead in the first innings, three wickets inside the last 15 minutes gave Kerala a ray of hope.

Busy time

The defending champion ended the day at 171 for five, a lead of 65. Kerala must be relieved one of those quick wickets was that of visiting captain Faiz Fazal, who arrived for this match with three hundreds under his belt.


When on 75 (142b, 13x4), he walked after edging a Sandeep Warrier ball — that bounced sharply from short of good length — to ’keeper Azharuddeen, who was in the thick of action in the following over too, catching nightwatchman Rajneesh Gurbani off Basil Thampi. 

Then, off what would prove to be the last ball of the day, Warrier had Atharva Taide flicking — rather unnecessarily perhaps — a catch to M.D. Nidheesh at mid-wicket.

From 170 for two Vidarbha had slid to 172 for five.

Nidheesh had earlier sent back Vidarbha’s 40-year-old run-machine Wasim Jaffer for 34, with Arun Karthik smartly picking up the outside edge at first slip.

It was the first time in the last five matches that the veteran batsman hadn’t reach 98. He, however, completed 1,000 runs for the season.

Kerala would have loved to have a batsman of his class in its side, especially after losing the toss in conditions ideal for seam bowling against a side that featured a current Test pacer.

In his last match, Umesh had taken nine wickets on a flat track at Nagpur, so he was always going to be more than a handful on a wicket like the one here.

He certainly was. He bowled fast, got the ball to move and bounce and never let the batsmen breathe easy.

Kerala’s top-order was dismantled by his first spell, which read 6-1-17-4. He went on to finish with a career-best seven for 48 from 12 overs. 

Some excitement

Kerala wouldn’t have even reached three figures but for a counter-attacking 37 not out off 50 balls from Vishnu Vinod, who walked in at 40 for five; he provided excitement for the enthusiastic crowd by pulling both Umesh and Yash Thakur over square-leg for six.

The scores:

Kerala – 1st innings: P. Rahul c Fazal b Gurbani 9, Mohammed Azharuddeen c Thakur b Umesh 8, Sijomon Joseph c Sanjay b Umesh 0, Sachin Baby b Gurbani 22, Vinoop Manoharan c Fazal b Umesh 0, Arun Karthik c Wadkar b Umesh 4, Vishnu Vinod (not out) 37, Jalaj Saxena c Fazal b Umesh 7, Basil Thampi c Wadkar b Yadav 10, Sandeep Warrier b Umesh 0, M.D. Nidheesh c & b Gurbani 6; Extras (lb-2, nb-1): 3. Total (in 28.4 overs): 106.

Fall of wickets: 1-9, 2-17, 3-27, 4-28, 5-40, 6-46, 7-55, 8-71, 9-81.

Vidarbha bowling: Gurbani 11.4-3-38-3, Umesh 12-1-48-7, Thakur 5-0-18-0.

Vidarbha – 1st innings: Faiz Fazal c Azharuddeen b Warrier 75, Sanjay Ramaswamy b Nidheesh 19, Wasim Jaffer c Karthik b Nidheesh 34, Atharva Taide c Nidheesh b Warrier 23, Rajneesh Gurbani c Azharuddeen b Thampi 0, Aditya Sarvate (not out) 0; Extras (b-4, lb-12, nb-4): 20; Total (for five wkts. in 45 overs): 171.

Fall of wickets: 1-33, 2-113, 3-170, 4-171, 5-171.

Kerala bowling: 13-3-46-2, Thampi 13-3-38-1, Nidheesh 13-1-53-2, Saxena 6-1-18-0.

Toss: Vidarbha.

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Printable version | Apr 3, 2020 12:20:47 AM |

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