Ranji Trophy: Vidarbha crushes Kerala by 412 runs to enter semis

Kerala, after being left with an insurmountable target of 578 runs in a possible 73 overs in its second innings, crumbled like a pack of cards and was all out for 165 in 52.2 overs.

Vidarbha players celebrate a fall of wicket in Surat on Monday.   -  Special Arrangement

Vidarbha expectedly stormed into the semifinals of the Ranji Trophy, making the grade for the first time, as it cut Kerala down to size by a massive 412-run margin at the Lalbhai Contractor stadium here on Monday.

Scorecard

 

The win came twenty minutes into the final session of the final and fifth day, as Kerala, after being left with an insurmountable target of 578 runs in a possible 73 overs in its second innings, crumbled like a pack of cards and was all out for 165 in 52.2 overs.

The first-time quarterfinalist, which began the match well, showed no inclination to even draw the match, succumbing to the guiles of left-arm spinner Aditya Sarwate.

MATCH REPORT: Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4

Though Vidarbha was a bowler short, with pacer Lalit Yadav unable to take the field due to injury, Sarwate rescued his side admirably with a match-winning and career-best haul of six for 41 off just 16.2 overs.

Ranji Trophy quarterfinals, Day 5: As it happened

Vidarbha will now take on Karnataka in the semifinals, starting December 17.

The downfall of Kerala started with the exit of Jalaj Saxena early on and though the side crawled to 137 for three, riding on a half-century compiled by Salman Nizar, it soon became evident where the match was heading, as the southern State lost as many as five wickets within a space of just six runs. It was a major blow for Kerala and needless to say, it never recovered from such a poor showing of its batsmen who hardly could read Sarwate.

On resumption of play this morning, Vidarbha continued with its second innings, adding a further 76 runs to its overnight total of 431 for six before the declaration eventually came about. K.C. Akshay was the key wicket-taker for Kerala in this essay as well with figures of 4 for 118 and a match haul of nine for 174.

His spinning partner Jalaj Saxena who finished with three for 125 (match: six for 177) to take his championship haul to 44 wickets is now sure to remain as the leading wicket-taker of the tournament. That's some saving grace for Kerala.

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