Vijay Hazare Trophy: Bhui shines as Andhra survives jittery chase

A steely half-century from Ricky Bhui guided Andhra Pradesh to a one-wicket win over Goa in the Vijay Hazare Trophy on Friday.

Ricky Bhui played a crucial innings of 56 runs in Andhra's win over Goa on Friday.   -  C. V. Subrahmanyam

Ricky Bhui's (56, 86b, 4x6, 1x6) patient half-century formed the cornerstone of a nervous chase as Andhra Pradesh beat a resilient Goa side by one wicket at the M. A. Chidambaram stadium here on Friday.

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Chasing a modest 189, Andhra got off to a solid start. Ashwin Hebbar (19, 23b, 2x4, 1x6) entertained the sparse crowd with a brace of boundaries and a six before being caught at covers by Suyash Prabhudesai off left-arm spinner Amulya Pandrekar.

Andhra went through a short lull in the latter half of the first powerplay but captain Hanuma Vihari (24, 21b, 4x5) struck a flurry of boundaries to compensate for the let-up. He was bowled by pacer Vijesh Prabhudesai.

A few balls later, 'keeper K. S. Bharat (30, 59b, 4x4) failed to keep a well-directed bouncer from Prabhudesai out of harm's way. The ball flew to Swapnil Asnodkar at first slip, who launched himself to his left to pull off a spectacular catch.

Goa continued to produce sporadic moments of brilliance on the field - wicketkeeper Kenan Vaz stretching his left hand out to pluck a one-handed catch to get rid of B. Sumanth (9, 15b, 2x4).

To say the two catches lifted Goa's spirits would be correct since in the passage of play that followed, it fought tooth and nail - Vijesh (3 for 43) and Lakshya Garg (3 for 32) starred with the ball - to tighten the noose on the Andhra batsmen but in the end the riposte proved to be too little too late.

Andhra bowlers rule the roost

Earlier, Andhra won the toss and inserted Goa in to bat. Goa suffered an early blow when opener Asnodkar was trapped in front by B. Ayyappa for 4. The other opener Amogh Desai followed suit, losing his leg stump to a ball from Ayyapa that came back in after pitching.

Vihari introduced spin early in the innings, with left-arm spinner Bhargav Bhatt bowling to attacking fields - the Goa skipper Sagun Kamat was greeted with a slip and a leg-slip in the fourth over - and keeping the batsmen under pressure by not giving them quick runs.

By the end of the 15th over, Andhra had used six bowlers - three medium pacers and three spinners - a number that indicated the willingness to not let the batters settle down. The move reaped dividends when Kamat (28, 47b, 3x4) was out caught at covers off his Andhra counterpart Vihari.

But just when it looked like Goa was under siege, Snehal Kauthankar (43, 71b, 4x4) notched up a 45-run stand with Vaz (34, 47b, 4x4) to bring up the team's 100 in 26.1 overs.

The two batsmen, however, didn't make life as hard for Andhra as they may have hoped to - Kauthankar undoing all the good work by miscuing a pull which was caught at mid-off by Vihari.  Soon after, Vaz holed out to Ravi Teja at mid-on to leave Goa reeling at 129/5.

Medium pacer Girinath Reddy (4/32) was the pick of the bowlers as Goa folded for a paltry 188 with 14 balls still left to play in the innings.

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