Cricket

Jalaj spins Kerala to victory

Jumping for joy: Kerala players celebrate the fall of Punjab’s last wicket.

Jumping for joy: Kerala players celebrate the fall of Punjab’s last wicket.  

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His seven-wicket haul stops Punjab in its tracks

Kerala finally put its faltering Ranji Trophy campaign back on track with a 21-run win came in a humdinger against Punjab at the KCA-St. Xavier’s College ground here on Monday.

Chasing a modest 146, Punjab was bundled out for 124 as Jalaj Saxena — he bowled unchanged — made optimum use of a deteriorating surface to bag seven wickets for 51 runs off 23.1 overs and enabled Kerala secure its first win of the season.

The uneven bounce and turn kept the batsmen guessing and Punjab quickly slid to 89 for eight. But an enterprising 33-run ninth-wicket stand between Siddharth Kaul (22) and Mayank Markande (23) frustrated the host. Luckily for Kerala the tea break came at the right time and when play resumed, M.D. Nidheesh struck off the third ball. Kaul, who followed his five wicket haul with an aggressive knock, poked at an out-swinger and was caught by wicket-keeper Azharuddeen. Then Jalaj wrapped up the innings when Markande got a faint edge to a spinning delivery which was snapped up by Sachin Baby at backward short-leg.

Wrong note

Punjab started its chase on the wrong note when it lost Rohan Marwaha off the second ball of the innings. Marwaha’s attempted sweep off Jalaj ended in the hands of Azharuddeen. Sanbir Singh opened with a flurry of boundaries but Sijomon Joseph yorked him in his first over. Skipper Mandeep Singh (10) then swept Jalaj straight to Nidheesh at midwicket to trigger another collapse.

Jalaj dismissed Anmolpreet Singh for a golden duck and in the next over Abhishek Sharma (0) played an ugly hoick against Sijomon and was stumped. Punjab slipped from 38 for two to 40 for five in the space of an over.

Gurkeerat Maan, who curbed his aggressive game, then added 28 for the sixth wicket with Anumol Malhortra before Jalaj trapped both in front with deliveries that kept low. Then came the ninth wicket stand that nearly brought victory for Punjab.

The scores: Kerala — 1st innings: 227.

Punjab — 1st innings: 218.

Kerala — 2nd innings: Robin Uthappa c Anmolpreet b Vinay 0, Rohan Prem c Kaul b Maan 17, Akshay Chandran b Gurkeerat 31, Sachin Baby lbw b Gurkeerat 10, Vishnu Vinod c (sub) b Gurkeerat 8, Mohd. Azharuddeen b Kaul 27, Salman Nizar (not out) 28, Jalaj Saxena b Kaul 4, Sijomon Joseph b Kaul 0, M.D. Nidheesh c Abhishek b Kaul 4, Basil Thampi b Kaul 0; Extras (b-4, lb-3): 7; Total (in 39.5 overs): 136.

Fall of wickets: 1-0, 2-55, 3-55, 4-73, 5-74, 6-108, 7-116, 8-116, 9-136.

Punjab bowling: Vinay 11-1-40-1, Gurkeerat 17-0-45-4, Kaul 7.5-0-39-5 Baltej 4-2-5-0.

Punjab — 2nd innings: Rohan Marwaha c Azharuddeen b Jalaj 0, Sanbir Singh b Sijomon 18, Gurkeerat Maan lbw b Jalaj 18, Mandeep Singh c Nidheesh b Jalaj 10, Anmolpreet Singh c Baby b Jalaj 0, Abhishek Sharma st Azharuddeen b Sijomon 0, Anumol Malhotra lbw b Jalaj 14, Mayank Markande c Baby b Jalaj 23, Vinay Choudhary lbw b Jalaj 10, Siddharth Kaul c Azharuddeen b Nidheesh 22, Baltej Singh (not out) 0; Extras (b-4, 1b-5): 9, Total (in 46.1 overs): 124.

Fall of wickets: 1-0, 2-20, 3-38, 4-39, 5-40, 6-68, 7-73, 8-89, 9-122.

Kerala bowling: Jalaj 23.1-51-7, Nidheesh 5-0-18-1, Sijomon 15-2-37-2, Thampi 3-0-9-0.

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Printable version | Jan 21, 2020 11:55:45 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/cricket/jalaj-spins-kerala-to-victory/article30559703.ece

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