Vijay Hazare Trophy: All-round Kerala thumps UP

Kerala rode on its experienced batting and a three-wicket haul by Sandeep Warrier to register a comprehensive 120-run win against Uttar Pradesh.

Kerala banked on Rohan Prem (in the picture) and K.B. Arun Karthick's half-centuries to put up a fighting 261 for nine.   -  Y.B. Sarangi

All-round Kerala coasted to a comprehensive 120–run win over Uttar Pradesh in a Group B match of the Vijay Hazare Trophy one-day tournament at the HPCA Stadium here on Thursday.

Kerala banked on Rohan Prem and K.B. Arun Karthick's half-centuries to put up a fighting 261 for nine before a combined effort from its bowlers, which included Sandeep Warrier's three-wicket haul, restricted Uttar Pradesh to a modest 141.

With 14 points under its belt and a match left, Kerala kept its quarterfinal hopes alive. Uttar Pradesh, which lost three of its five matches, exited the race.

The opening salvo

Inserted in, Kerala laid a solid foundation courtesy a mature 90-run partnership between Jalaj Saxena (37 off 64, 6x4) and Rohan (66 not out off 95, 7x4) for the second wicket.

They gathered runs through boundaries initially and rotated the strike later to have a good grip on the situation.

The association ended with the fall of Saxena, who was stumped off left-arm spinner Saurabh Kumar in the 23rd over.

On 63, Rohan, who played some crisp shots on the off-side, retired hurt due to a wrist injury. It affected Kerala's rhythm.

Nevertheless, captain Sachin Baby (38 off 50, 4x4, 1x6) and Karthick (54 off 36, 4x4, 4x6) added 66 crucial runs to take Kerala past 200. Sachin played some big hits with a straight bat, while Karthick enjoyed his pull shots. Both departed trying to up the ante.

Warrier shines with the ball

Kerala defended its total comfortably as Warrier, who generated good pace and movement, scalped Prashant Gupta and Saurabh Kumar off consecutive deliveries in the third over.

The tidy M.D. Nidheesh had Umang Sharma caught behind and Fanoos F. had Akshdeep Nath caught and bowled to reduce Uttar Pradesh to 33 for four in the 11th over.

Warrier returned to remove Rinku Singh and left-arm spinner K.C. Akshay accounted for a defiant Mohammed Saif (31) to put the issue beyond doubt.

Delhi on the edge

In a nail-biting finish at Amtar, Himachal Pradesh beat Delhi by two runs to stay in contention.

Despite Rishabh Pant's stroke-filled 135 (93b, 16x4, 5x6), Himachal, which put up a formidable 304 for five thanks to Prashant Chopra's 150 (149b, 22x4, 2x6), fought back brilliantly. Delhi was all out for 302 off the final delivery.

Himachal, which has 14 points, has one match left, while Delhi, with 16 points after completing its group engagements, is on the tenterhooks as far as qualification is concerned.

The scores:

At Dharamshala: Kerala 261 for nine in 50 overs (Rohan Prem 66 not out, K.B. Arun Karthick 54, Mohsin Khan four for 43) bt Uttar Pradesh 141 in 39.2 overs (Sandeep Warrier three for 32, Akshay K.C. three for 32).

At Amtar: Himachal Pradesh 304 for five in 50 overs (Prashant Chopra 150, A.R. Kumar 52) bt Delhi 302 in 50 overs (Rishabh Pant 135, Nitish Rana 52, Unmukt Chand 42, Rishi Dhawan three for 38).

At Bilaspur: (42 overs per side): Tripura 222 for seven in 42 overs (Manisankar Mura Singh 55) lost to Maharashtra 223 for six in 41.1 overs (Ruturaj Gaikwad 115, Ankit Bawne 51).

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