Vijay Hazare Trophy: Asif four-for hands Kerala first win

Asif, who had impressed against Karnataka on Saturday with a three-wicket haul, flattened Hyderabad during its chase of 228 with a devastating opening spell (4-2-4-4).

In his third over, Asif sent back three batsmen including the seasoned Ambati Rayudu for a second-ball duck.   -  n sudarshan

A blistering display of fast-bowling by K.M. Asif (10-2-34-4) secured Kerala a much-needed first victory in the Vijay Hazare Trophy as it beat Hyderabad by 62 runs at the Alur Grounds here on Sunday.

The speedster, who had impressed against Karnataka on Saturday with a three-wicket haul, flattened Hyderabad during its chase of 228 with a devastating opening spell (4-2-4-4). First to go was Akshath Reddy (0), out caught by the mid-wicket fielder while attempting a hook off a delivery that climbed awkwardly.

Asif wreaks havoc

In his third over, Asif sent back three batsmen including the seasoned Ambati Rayudu for a second-ball duck. Tilak Varma was bowled; B. Sandeep trapped leg-before before Rayudu was caught behind following a lazy shot.

Opener Tanmay Agarwal (69, 103b, 8x4) held one end up and stitched together a 84-run partnership for the fifth wicket with Rohit Rayudu (18, 58b, 1x4). But the resistance was broken when Basil Thampi snuffed out both batsmen in successive overs. While Rohit edged to wicket-keeper Mohd. Azharuddeen, Tanmay’s upper cut nestled in the safe hands of Asif at third-man.

Samson leads the way

Earlier, after being put into bat, Kerala made a modest-looking 227 which in hindsight proved good enough. Each of its batsmen except Vinoop Manoharan got starts, but none capitalised. It was however to Kerala’s credit that it batted the full quota of overs.

Sanju Samson top-scored with 36 (44b, 3x4, 1x6) but his promising innings was cut short by a superb catch by Akshath at the deep mid-wicket boundary. However, No.6 batsman P. Rahul (35, 63b) was involved in two crucial partnerships for the fifth and sixth wickets with Sachin Baby (32, 53b, 2x4) and Akshay Chandran (28, 32b, 2x4) respectively, ensuring that Kerala would finish with a winning total.

Must win

“This match was a must win for us and I am happy to have contributed to my team’s victory,” said Asif later. “We had come close in both our previous matches and it was a relief to get the win. We need to put up equally good performances in the remaining five games.”

“We wanted to bowl if we had won the toss. But we lost the toss and had to bat. We calculated that 230 was the average score on this ground. So we focussed on getting that. The wicket was good for both batting and bowling. So it depended on our effort. We gave 100% and it paid off," Asif added.

The scores: Group A (BENGALURU):

Kerala 227 for nine in 50 overs (Robin Uthappa 33, Sanju Samson 36, Sachin Baby 32, P. Rahul 35, Ajay Dev Goud three for 52) bt Hyderabad 165 in 44.4. overs (Tanmay Agarwal 69, K.M. Asif four for 34).

Goa 266 for eight in 50 overs (Aditya Kaushik 117, C.M. Gautam 40, Rahul Shukla six for 33) bt Jharkhand 224 in 48.1 overs (Ishan Kishan 43, Virat Singh 32, Anukul Roy 40, Darshan Misal four for 35).

Chhattisgarh 268 for nine in 50 overs (Shashank Chandrakar 54, Ashutosh Singh 75, Shashank Singh 45, Prithvi Raj Yarra three for 63) bt Andhra 212 in 46.5 overs (D.B. Prashanth Kumar 44, K.V. Sasikanth 35, Shashank Singh three for 37).