Ranji Trophy 2019-20: Hyderabad beats Kerala to earn first win of season

Hyderabad’s wait for a win, after three straight defeats in the first three rounds, finally ended when it secured a comfortable six-wicket win over Kerala.

Mohd. Siraj celebrates after dismissing Kerala batsman Vishnu Vinod.   -  V.V. Subrahmanyam

Hyderabad’s wait for a win, after three straight defeats in the first three rounds, finally ended when it secured a comfortable six-wicket win over Kerala in the Ranji Trophy Elite Group match at Rajiv Gandhi Stadium here on Monday.

Earlier, Kerala, resuming at the overnight score of 204 for eight, folded up for 218, lasting 8.5 overs and 42 minutes.

The pace duo of Ravi Kiran and Mohd. Siraj ensured that the tail didn’t wag and the home team was set a modest target of 155 to win.

Its openers, Tanmay Agarwal and P. Akshath Reddy made a confident start by putting on their second fifty-plus partnership of the season, showing lot of confidence and playing the bowling on merit.

Read: Ranji Trophy 2019-20: Hanuma Vihari, K. S. Bharat steer Andhra to six-wicket win

But, it was not that Kerala was willing to surrender meekly. Fast bowlers Basil Thampi, K.M. Asif and Sandeep Warrier bowled their hearts out.

Thampi dismissed Tanmay, who was dropped on 19 off the same bowler at second slip earlier, as the batsman leaned into a cover drive only to give a straight forward catch to short-cover, the fielder being specifically placed by the Kerala captain.

Much was expected of Akshath Reddy, who was having a poor run this season. He looked good while playing the square-cuts and in one over off Thampi, late cuts fetched him two boundaries.

When he stepped out to loft off-spinner Jalaj Saxena for a huge six into the second tier at long-on, Akshath’s intentions were clear. But, in the same over, he completely missed the line and length of off-spinner Jalaj Saxena to be trapped leg before after scoring just 32.

Then the stage was set for debutants J. Mallikarjun and Jaweed Ali to have the privilege of being at the crease when the team crossed the target. Jaweed was trapped lbw by Thampi as he was cramped inside the crease with little footwork.

At 82 for three, Hyderabad was in a spot of worry but a crucial 59-run stand for fourth wicket between Mallikarjun (38, 70b, 4x4) and Himalay Agarwal (34 n.o, 70b, 5x4) ensured there were no more hiccups before the former was run out responding to a non-existent single.

Hyderabad now has six points from four games while Kerala three from four matches.

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