Cricket

Ranji Trophy: Warrier’s five-for restricts Punjab

Hit-man: Sandeep Warrier and his Kerala teammates celebrate one of his five dismissals.

Hit-man: Sandeep Warrier and his Kerala teammates celebrate one of his five dismissals.  

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Azharuddeen’s delightful knock highlights Kerala’s fightback

First, Sandeep Warrier swung the ball viciously to trigger a batting collapse. Then, Mohammed Azharuddeen swung his bat, without being reckless.

Together, the two pulled Kerala right back into the Ranji Trophy Elite Group B match at the PCA Stadium on a chilly Monday. And that was no mean task, for Punjab had reached a commanding position on the opening day itself.

The host still had its nose in front at stumps on day two, with Kerala on 127 for three in its second innings — a lead of 31.

Earlier, Punjab resumed its first innings at a rather comfortable 135 for two. But, these days when Warrier has the ball in his hands, especially when conditions favour swing bowling, a wicket is not far away.

Swinging the ball either way, even while keeping the line and length steady, he picked up his second five-wicket haul of the season.

Incisive first burst

His first spell — 9-3-14-3 — ended Punjab’s dream of an innings victory at least. He began by making overnight opener Jiwanjot Singh (69, 129b, 11x4) edge to wicket-keeper Azharuddeen in his second over. That brought an end to his 107-run second-wicket stand with skipper Mandeep Singh.

Warrier then had the experienced Yuvraj Singh caught at first slip by Arun Karthik. Before long, the host had slid to 169 for seven, from 137 for two.

The captain, who continued to bat calmly, was unfortunate to miss out on a hundred. He had made 89 (182b, 6x4, 1x6) when he gave the third catch of the innings to Azharuddeen, off Warrier, who finished with five for 83 from 27.2 overs.

Azharuddeen, playing his first match of the season, would soon find out the day could get even better. He came to the wicket in the first over itself after Manpreet Gony had cleaned opener Karthik up.

The other opener, P. Rahul, however, dropped his head and played confidently against a strong attack.

Losing his head

But on 28, after doing all the hard work, he lost his head: an attempt to hit leg-spinner Mayank Markande out of the ground ended up in the hands of Baltej Singh at deep mid-wicket.

Azharuddeen (76 batting, 122b, 6x4, 2x6), however, calmed the nerves in Kerala’s dressing room. He played some delightful strokes, including a sweetly time straight drive off Baltej, and a couple of sixes off Markande.

The scores:

Kerala — 1st innings: 121.

Punjab — 1st innings: Jiwanjot Singh c Azharuddeen b Warrier 69, Shubman Gill b Thampi 24, Anmolpreet Singh b Thampi 0, Mandeep Singh c Azharuddeen b Warrier 89, Yuvraj Singh c Karthik b Warrier 8, Gurkeerat Mann c Azharuddeen b Warrier 0; Gitansh Khera b Nidheesh 2, Mayank Markande run out 1, Manpreet Gony run out 11, Siddharth Kaul b Warrier 6, Baltej Singh (not out) 0; Extras (lb-3, nb-4) 7; Total (in 75.2 overs): 217.

Fall of wickets: 1-30, 2-30, 3-137, 4-157, 5-157, 6-162, 7-169, 8-203, 9-216.

Kerala bowling: Warrier 27.2-3-83-5, Thampi 17-2-46-2, Nidheesh 20-5-50-1, Joseph 10-1-33-0, Saxena 1-0-2-0.

Kerala — 2nd innings: P. Rahul c Baltej b Markande 28, Arun Karthik b Gony 0, Mohammed Azharuddeen (batting) 76, Sanju Samson c Jiwanjot b Kaul 3, Sachin Baby (batting) 16; Extras (lb-4) 4; Total (for three wkts. in 42 overs): 127.

Fall of wickets: 1-1, 2-76, 3-92.

Punjab bowling: Manpreet Gony 9-3-11-1, Baltej Singh 11-1-43-0, Siddharth Kaul 9-0-34-1, Mayank Markande 12-1-32-1, Gurkeerat Mann 1-0-3-0.

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Printable version | Jan 27, 2020 8:25:58 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/cricket/ranji-trophy-warriers-five-for-restricts-punjab/article25878360.ece

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