Andhra v Hyderabad Ranji game set for an exciting finish

Andhra plundered 171 runs before declaring its second venture. Hyderabad, set a target of 219 runs, was 13 for no loss when bad light curtailed play on the third day.

Hanuma Vihari Ranji Trophy

Vihari played the captain’s role brilliantly as he took 57 runs off 54 balls with five fours to set a furious tempo for Andhra.   -  G. Ramakrishna

The intricacies of first-class cricket were on display at the Ekana International Cricket Stadium here on Friday when Andhra made a tactical declaration to set up an intriguing finish against Hyderabad in their Ranji Trophy encounter.

>Scorecard

Having secured a first-innings lead of 47 runs, Andhra plundered 171 runs before declaring its second venture. Hyderabad, set a target of 219 runs, was 13 for no loss when bad light curtailed play on the third day. Only a win can carry Andhra (25 points) to the next stage while Hyderabad (30 points) needs a draw since Haryana (31 points) made the grade today by beating Tripura.

P. Vijay Kumar, a most hard-working seamer in the Andhra camp, played a stellar role by taking two more wickets this morning to add to his tally of two on the second day. He inspired Andhra’s comeback to collect full points from this match to get to the knockout stage.

Vihari played the captain’s role brilliantly as he took 57 runs off 54 balls with five fours to set a furious tempo as Andhra looked to set a target of 200-plus. “The ball is doing a lot since there is help from the pitch. We needed some time today too because of the uncertain weather (fog) but I am sure we have a very good chance tomorrow. The wear and tear of the surface will make run-making a difficult task,’ said Vihari.

Towards the close, Andhra earned a lucky breakthrough when bowler Vijay Kumar deflected Akshath Reddy’s straight drive onto the stumps to catch non-striker Tanmay Agarwal out of the crease. On Saturday, the weather holds the key to Andhra’s progress in the tournament.