Goa thrived on conditions that were tailor-made for the host and registered a fine seven-wicket win over Kerala in the Ranji Trophy cricket match at the KCA-St.Xavier’s College ground here on Friday.
After off-spinner Mohit Redkar (six for 73) brought a quick end to Kerala’s innings in the morning, opener Ishaan Gadekar (67 not out) once again proved to be the host’s bugbear.
Chasing a target of 155 after Kerala was dismissed for 200 in the second innings, Gadekar dropped anchor and constructed small partnerships with Amogh Desai, Suyash Prabhudessai and Siddhesh Lad to see his side home.
Kerala was poor on the field and the fielders failed to grab the chances that came their way. The Kerala bowlers disappointed by failing to exploit the helpful conditions and bowled without imagination and guile to trouble the batters. Captain Sijomon Joseph was defensive and his tactics were bizarre. There was no pressure on the batters as singles were gifted too easily.
The Goan openers Desai and Gadekar played unorthodox shots early in the innings to upset the rhythm of the Kerala spinners. Desai (23), with an assortment of paddle and reverse sweeps, hit Kerala’s trump card Jalaj Saxena out of the attack as the opening pair added 36 runs for the first wicket.
Vaisakh Chandran managed to win a lbw decision in his favour to dismiss Desai. But Prabhudessai survived a chance as he was dropped at short-leg by Salman Nizar and later P. Rahul missed a stumping of Snehal Kauthankar. Though both batters failed to cash in on to their reprieves, they added useful runs with Gadekar easing the pressure. The arrival of Lad (33 not out) hastened the victory. The batter played the big shot against spinners and added 68 runs for the fourth wicket with Gadekar.
Earlier in the morning, Redkar ended whatever little hopes Kerala had with a teasing spell. He removed both overnight batters Saxena and Rohan Prem early. Saxena (34) padded up to a straight ball while Rohan (70) was bowled playing back. Redkar then cleaned up Basil Thampi for a golden duck. N.P. Basil (16 not out) chanced his arm and hit Redkar for two sixes to enable Kerala to reach 200.
Goa skipper Darshan Misal was happy with his team’s first win in the tournament and praised opener Gadekar and spinner Redkar. The skipper said the spell with the new ball by Lakshay Garg and Arjun Tendulkar on the second morning was the game changer.
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