Vijay Hazare Trophy: Gurinder’s blistering knock guides Tripura to victory

A brilliant knock of 61 by Gurinder Singh (74 balls, three fours and two sixes) swung the contest in favour of Tripura which won with four balls to spare against Kerala in the Vijay Hazare tournament on Saturday.

Baby extricated Kerala from an embarrassing situation against Tripura in the Vijay Hazare tournament, but failed to prevent a two-wicket defeat.   -  K. Pichumani

Sensible batting by Salman Nizar and Sachin Baby extricated Kerala from an embarrassing situation against Tripura in the Vijay Hazare tournament at the KIIT ground here on Saturday. But it failed to prevent a two-wicket defeat at the hands of Tripura.

Nizar produced a stellar knock of 82 off 104 balls and Baby played his role of a responsible captain to come up with an innings of 77 as Kerala, put in, recovered from a precarious 60 for five to post a competitive target for Tripura.

A brilliant knock of 61 by Gurinder Singh (74 balls, three fours and two sixes) swung the contest in favour of Tripura which won with four balls to spare.

The top order of the Kerala batting line up had no clue to arrest the slide as seamer Abhijit Sarkar removed the top four batsmen – Mohammad Azharuddeen (0), Vishnu Vinod (27), Rohan Prem (2) and Sanju Samson (0). At 34 for four, with Jalaj Saxena joining Baby, the Kerala innings prayed for a recovery.

Saxena, however, left with Kerala just 60 on the board. The last recognised pair of Baby and Nizar got into a match-saving act and added 120 runs for the sixth wicket, making the most of the scoring opportunities that came their way.

Nizar batted 104 balls and hit five fours while Baby, who was happy to secure the other end, faced an identical number of balls and struck eight fours. Baby and Iqbal Abdulla fell in succession before Baby and V. Vinod Kumar garnered 45 crucial runs for the eighth wicket.

Abhijit Sarkar (three for 41) and seamer Ajoy Sarkar (two for 23) were the pick of the bowlers for Tripura which backed itself to attain the target.

Bishal Ghosh gave the chase a cracking start (30 off 31 balls) but failed to maintain the momentum. Smit Patel gave some hope but his 30 and Tripura clinched it with a collective show by Gurinder and Sanjay Majumder.