Ranji Trophy: Kerala collapses, loses knockouts berth to Madhya Pradesh

Madhya Pradesh had the last laugh against Kerala with a better run quotient.

Sachin Baby and P Rahul in action against Madhya Pradesh in Rajkot on Sunday.   -  VIJAY SONEJI

Kerala was in excellent shape at 364 for two with opener P. Rahul (136, 368b, 18x4) and captain Sachin Baby (114, 234b, 11x4, 2x6) in the middle.

It all turned bitter after tea. Baby was dismissed in the second over after the break, and the wickets continued to tumble. Madhya Pradesh won the race for the better run quotient and qualified for the Ranji Trophy quarterfinals from Group A.

Both the teams were on 13 points before this match , and if the first innings could not be completed – which was likely given the nature of the wicket and the batting strength of either side – the run quotient was going to be crucial.

Tune in to all the updates from the ongoing Ranji Trophy season on our cricket podcast - Matchpoint Paradox

It became increasingly clear that Kerala wasn’t going to attempt to chase Madhya Pradesh’s mammoth first innings score of 585 for nine (declared) and that it would try to improve the run quotient by losing as few wickets as possible.

READ | Raj Bawa talks Ranji Trophy and the road to IPL

It had resumed on the final morning on Sunday at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Ground (C) at 198 for two, with Rahul on 82 and Baby on seven. They knew much depended on them if their team had to extend their stay in the competition. And they both according to the match situation for the first two sessions of the day.

They took their team to lunch at 281 for two, giving little chance to the Madhya Pradesh bowlers. They were in total command in the second session too.

READ| Should've batted better in second innings, says TN coach Venkataramana after Jharkhand loss

But, of course, it only takes a moment for things to change in cricket. In Kerala’s case, it came when Baby was caught behind off left-arm spinner Kumar Kartikeya.

Madhya Pradesh's wait for a wicket ended finally after 430 balls and 187 runs. They didn’t have to wait long for the next, as seamer Ishwar Pandey removed Rahul.

It was going to be tough for Kerala after that; it finished at 432 for nine, quite a collapse from 369 for two.

Madhya Pradesh ended with a run quotient of 2.147, ahead of Kerala’s 1.647.

The scores: Madhya Pradesh – 1st Innings: 585 for nine (decl.).

Kerala – 1st Innings: P. Rahul c Shubham b Ishwar 136, Rohan Kunnummal lbw b Hirwani 75, Vathsal Govind c Mantri b Anubhav 15, Sachin Baby c Mantri b Kartikeya 114, Salman Nizar c Mantri b Ishwar 1, Vishnu Vinod lbw b Kartikeya 8, Jalaj Saxena c Shrivastava b Ishwar 20, Sijomon Joseph c Mantri b Anubhav 12, Basil Thampi b Anubhav 0, M.D. Nidheesh (not out) 11, N.P. Basil (not out) 0; Extras (b-9, lb-19, nb-2, w-5, pen-5) 40; Total (for nine wkts. in 153 overs): 432.

Fall of wickets: 1-129, 2-182, 3-369, 4-371, 5-376, 6-382, 7-413, 8-413, 9-422.

Madhya Pradesh bowling: Kartikeya 55-21-101-2, Ishwar 28-6-78-3, Anubhav 24-6-58-3, Mihir 19-2-73-1, Kuldeep 14-2-48-0, Shubham 13-1-41-0.

For more updates, follow Sportstar on :