Ranji Trophy 2019-20: Hyderabad fails to avoid relegation

On the other hand, two-time champions, Vidarbha, remained in the Elite Group by thwarting Hyderabad's valiant bid to record an outright win on the final day of their Ranji Trophy clash.

Vidarbha captain Faiz Fazal looks back to see Aniketh Reddy take the catch off Hyderabad pacer Mohd Siraj.   -  V.V. SUBRAHMANYAM

Two-time champions, Vidarbha, thwarted a valiant bid by Hyderabad to record an outright win and stay in the Elite Group of the Ranji Trophy at Rajiv Gandhi Stadium here on Saturday.

Hyderabad badly needed an outright win on the final day to avoid the ignominy of being relegated to Group C after resuming at the overnight score of 139 for seven, having conceded a first innings lead of 61 runs. Eventually, it had to settle for a draw and one point to be out of the Elite Group.

The morning session clearly belonged to the home team.

First, tail-ender Mohd Siraj played a cameo (46, 27b, 2x4, 6x6) and wicketkeeper-batsman K. Sumanth continued his impressive run with the bat this season to remain unbeaten on 65 (123b, 6x4, 1x6) even as left-arm spinner Aditya Sarvate completed a splendid seven-wicket haul for Vidarbha, picking all the three wickets to fall in the morning.

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The heroics of Siraj and Sumanth ensured that Hyderabad finished on a far more respectable score of 244 and set a victory target of 184 for Vidarbha.

And, the home team had every reason to hope for an improbable win when pacer Mohd Siraj forced the first-innings centurion and Vidarbha captain Faiz Fazal to nick an away-going delivery straight to slip fielder. Then, Ravi Kiran cleaned up Aniruddha Choudhari with a beauty to leave the visitors in serious trouble at 12 for two.

Then, Ganesh Satish, who has been the leading run-getter for Vidarbha, joined Akshay Kholkar to put up a crucial 45-run stand for the third wicket before he was trapped lbw by left-arm pacer Chama Milind.

At 52 for three, Hyderabad was still nursing hopes of a comeback win but ran into the stubborn duo of Satish and Siddesh Wath, who put an unbroken 64-run stand for the fourth wicket before Vidarbha opted to call off play with the score reading 116 for three, eight overs after the tea break when everyone thought it would go for an outright win with two well-set batsmen at the crease.

With this drawn match, Hyderabad has been relegated again from the Elite Group after ten years — finishing the league at the bottom of the points table with seven points from eight games including one win, one draw and six losses.

Vidarbha finished seventh with 21 points from eight games, which included two wins, two losses and four draws but failing to make it to the knock-out stage.

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