An all-round performance took Hyderabad to a seven-wicket win over Kerala in a Group ‘B’ Vijay Hazare Trophy contest at the Air Force Complex here on Tuesday.

With fast bowlers, spinners and top-order batsmen playing their roles well, Hyderabad collected its third win in a row in the tourney.

As it happened: Vijay Hazare Trophy 2018-19

Although the in-form left-arm spinner Mehdi Hasan did not have the brightest day with the ball, fellow spinner Saaketh and fast bowler Ravi Kiran were persistent enough to trouble their opponents.

V. A. Jagadeesh (62, 92b, 3X4) provided resistance and kept Kerala in the contest with a well-paced knock. However, a rapid start to the chase by Hyderabad eventually proved costly.

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Shaky start

Batting first, Kerala got off to a shaky start as Kiran dismissed K. B. Arun Karthick and Sanju Samson cheaply; during an attempted revival in the middle overs, off-spinner Saaketh claimed the wickets of two set batsmen – Sachin Baby and Salman Nizar. When the spinners’ tails were up – Kerala was struggling at 39 for 3 in the 17th over —Jagadeesh joined hands with Baby to play vigilantly.

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The humdrum proceedings for about 20 overs leading up to the last 10 have been par for the course on the slow pitch here. Jagadeesh ensured he would continue the tradition and profit from the time spent in the middle to accelerate at the death. Vishnu Vinod, with his quickfire, unbeaten 34 complemented Jagadeesh well and underlined a good recovery.

It was to prove too little, too late, eventually. Akshath Reddy (39, 52b, 5X4) and Ashish Reddy (37, 38b, 5X4) set the tone for Hyderabad’s comfortable chase; the duo struck 10 fours between them to deflate the opposition early on. There were pulls, drives and even lofted strokes, one of which evaded the third man fielder when Ashish had hit one too many.

Revealed Ashish, “I was promoted up the order to try to attack and make it easier for the batsmen to follow. The ball was coming on to the bat against the fast bowlers; I took my chances, and it paid off.”

A careless stroke in the 15th over by Ashish against the run of play resulted in his dismissal and checked his team’s progress. Soon, Akshath was also dismissed, trapped lbw by Saxena, who seemed to be making the ball talk.

K. Rohit Rayudu and B. Sandeep played pragmatically, respecting the spinners and waiting for the loose deliveries. Deliveries kicked off the rough, and there were at least two half-chances when the lofted strokes fell short of the fielders.

They inched towards the target, and eventually crossed the line with 3.2 overs left.

The victory lifted Hyderabad to the second spot in the Group ‘B’ points table.

Odisha falters, again

In the other contest at the Air Force Complex here, Odisha stumbled to its fourth defeat in six matches. Chhattisgarh off-spinner Shivendra Singh took three wickets as Odisha was bowled out for 164, chasing 213. Harpreet Singh Bhatia, the captain, top-scored for the winning team (43, 74b, 4X4).