Vijay Hazare Trophy: Akshdeep ton guides UP to victory

A brilliant knock of 143 by Akshdeep Nath set up Uttar Pradesh’s 245-run victory over Kerala at the KIIT cricket ground here on Wednesday. This was Uttar Pradesh’s first win in three matches, while Kerala suffered its third defeat in as many encounters.

Akshdeep Nath's knock of 143 helped Uttar Pradesh thump Kerala on Wednesday.   -  Special Arrangement

 

A brilliant knock of 143 by Akshdeep Nath set up Uttar Pradesh’s 245-run victory over Kerala at the KIIT cricket ground here on Wednesday. This was Uttar Pradesh’s first win in three matches, while Kerala suffered its third defeat in as many encounters.

Kerala opted to field and came to grief at the hands of Nath, who strode to the middle at the fall of Prashant Gupta’s wicket at 26 and lost little time in taking the measure of the attack. His 142-run association with opener Shivam Chaudhary took the game away from Kerala.

Full scoreboard

A lot depended on the top-order for Kerala to execute its chase, but Vishnu Vinod (32), Jalaj Saxena (29) and Rohan Prem (23) failed to consolidate their flourishing start and Sanju Samson falling for 25 with the score at 141 put paid to Kerala’s hopes of registering its first win of the tournament.

Nath faced 117 balls and hit 19 fours and three sixes in his match-winning performance with support from Chaudhary, who made his 63 off 82 balls with three fours and three sixes.

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There was little respite for the hapless Kerala bowlers as Eklavya Dwivedi took over from where Chaudhary had left and came up with a stand of 135 runs for the third wicket with Nath. Dwivedi’s contribution during the partnership was 75 off 52 balls with eight fours and three sixes.

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Dwivedi’s assault left Kerala bruised and Sarfaraz Khan made the most of the opportunity to crack a 22-ball 45 with eight fours. Uttar Pradesh signed off in style when Rinku Singh hit a blazing 29 off 12 balls with four sixes.

None of the Kerala bowlers had a clue against the batsmen who clouted the ball at will. Dwivedi’s was a significant knock in the middle-order since it gave a fillip to the excellent work done by Nath and Chaudhary.

In the absence of skipper Suresh Raina, who is yet to recover from fever, Nath handled the responsibility of giving the team the desired platform to recover from the defeats in its last two matches. Nath revelled in shots in the front and explored the field to pick gaps at will. Support from the other end was vital to Nath’s attacking approach and Kerala caved in without much of a resistance.