Cricket

Ranji Trophy | Kerala fails to capitalise on Nidheesh’s efforts

Remarkable: Nidheesh troubled Punjab batsmen with pace and movement .

Remarkable: Nidheesh troubled Punjab batsmen with pace and movement .  

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Punjab spinners make the most of inept batting

An inept batting display by Kerala batsmen saw it tottering at 88 for five at stumps on the second day of the Ranji Trophy Group A match against Punjab at the KCA-St. Xavier's College ground on Sunday. This, after a remarkable bowling effort (seven for 88) by M.D. Nidheesh had given the hosts a narrow nine-run lead.

Kerala leads by 97 runs but will need more to make a match out this. Credit should go to Punjab spinners — especially Gurkeerat Maan, who scalped four for 27 — for keeping their side very much alive in the contest.

Gurkeerat teased and tormented the Kerala batsmen with flight and turn, and he was well supported by Vinay Choudhary — to the extent that Mayank Markande’s leg spin wasn’t needed at all.

Failed experiment

Kerala tinkered with its batting line-up, sending in a horde of left handers to neutralise the threat of Gurkeerat's off spin. The experiment to open with Robin Uthappa failed, as the batsman fell off the first ball to push the hosts on the backfoot.

Akshay Chandran and Rohan Prem figured in a 55-run stand for the second wicket, but Gurkeerat's late strikes gave Punjab the upperhand.

Earlier, it was a lion-hearted effort from Nidheesh, who finished with career-best figures that gave Kerala a narrow lead.

Playing his first match this season, Nidheesh troubled the batsmen with pace and movement to take his second five-wicket haul in Ranji Trophy.

Ominous start

The day started ominously for Punjab as Jalaj Saxena sent back night watchman Markande off the fourth ball of the day.

Gurkeerat played aggressively, but Nidheesh had him (37) mistiming a lofted shot and caught by Sachin Baby in the covers. In the same over, Nidheesh snared Anmolpreet Singh, who was snapped up by Salman Nizar for a duck as Punjab slid to 71 for five.

As the Punjab innings disintegrated before him, captain Mandeep Singh (71 not out) showed good temperament to counter the Kerala attack. The 47-run ninth-wicket stand with Siddharth Kaul (25) was crucial, and whittled down Kerala's lead to a single digit.

The scores:

Kerala — 1st innings: 227.

Punjab — 1st innings: Rohan Marwaha b Nidheesh 16, Sanvir Singh c Robin b Nidheesh 1, Gurkeerat Mann c Baby b Nidheesh 37, Mayank Markande c Akshay b Jalaj 14, Mandeep Singh not out 71, Anmolpreet Singh c Salman b Nidheesh 0, Abhishek Sharma c Azharuddeen b Nidheesh 17, Anmol Malhotra lbw Nidheesh 21, Vinay Choudhary lbw Nidheesh 0, Siddharth Kaul run out 25, Baltej Singh st Azharuddeen b Sijomon 2; Extras (nb-2, b-3,1b-9): 4; Total (in 65.4 overs): 218.

Fall of wickets: 1-13, 2-18, 3-49, 4-71, 5-71, 6-99, 7-145, 8-151, 9-199.

Kerala bowling: Nidheesh 21-3-88-7, Thampi 5-0-30-0, Jalaj 28-6-61-1, Sijomon 10.4-3-25-1, Akshay 1-0-2-0.

Kerala — 2nd innings: Robin Uthappa C Anmolpreet b Vinay 0, Rohan Prem c Kaul b Gurkeerat 17, Akshay Chandran b Gurkeerat 31, Sachin Baby lbw Gurkeerat 10, Vishnu Vinod c Lumba (sub) b Gurkeerat 8, Mohd. Azharuddeen (batting) 8, Salman Nizar (batting) 7; Extras (b-4, lb-3): 7; Total (for five wkts. in 29 overs ): 88.

Fall of wickets: 1-0, 2-55, 3-55, 4-73, 5-74.

Punjab bowling: Vinay 11-1-40-1, Gurkeerat 12-0-27-4, Kaul 2-0-9-0, Baltej 4-2-5-0.

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2020 2:09:18 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/cricket/ranji-trophy-kerala-fails-to-capitalise-on-nidheeshs-efforts/article30551111.ece

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