Ranji Trophy: Kerala thrashes Delhi, tops the points table

The host’s first victory over the former champion took it to 20 points from six matches and to the top of the points tally.

On the penultimate day, Kerala spinners Jalaj Saxena and Sijomon Joseph didn’t allow a lower-order revival as the visitor was bundled out for 154, half-an-hour before lunch.   -  special arrangement

Kerala extended its formidable home record by inflicting a humiliating innings and 27 runs defeat on Delhi in a Group B Ranji Trophy match here on Sunday.

The host’s first victory over the former champion took it to 20 points from six matches and to the top of the table.

On the penultimate day, Kerala spinners Jalaj Saxena and Sijomon Joseph didn’t allow a lower-order revival as the visitor, resuming at 41 for five, was bundled out for 154, half-an-hour before lunch.

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Kerala captain Sachin Baby brought in his spinners early as both Delhi captain Dhruv Shorey and Anuj Rawat found it easy to negotiate medium pacers Sandeep Warrier and Basil Thampi.

Shorey was the first to fall, offering a catch to Vathsal Govind at short leg to become Jalaj’s first victim in the second innings.

Rawat prospered for a while before holing out to Thampi in the deep off Jalaj. Shivam Sharma and Subodh Bhati then stitched together the highest partnership of the innings, adding 54 runs for the eighth wicket.

The two used the long handle to good effect against the spinners with Bhati taking a liking to  Jalaj. The normally reliable Kerala fielders also spilt catches.

Sijomon ended the stand when he bowled Bhati (30) around his legs. Jalaj then picked up his third wicket when he had top-scorer Shivam (33) caught at short leg.

Kerala completed its famous win when Warrier snared Akash Sudan at long-on off Sijomon.

Inexperienced side

Delhi coach Mithun Manhas conceded that his team came up short in both the batting and bowling department and refused to believe that losing the toss was crucial to the outcome of the match.

“The wicket was better on the first day but we let Kerala off the hook. The partnership between Jalaj and Vinoop was crucial. We also dropped a few chances and I think we shouldn’t have lost five wickets in the last hour yesterday.

"We had an inexperienced side and it was a chance for the youngsters to step in and make it count. But they failed,” said a disappointed Manhas.

Brief Scores:

At Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala 320 bt Delhi 139 & 154 in 41 overs; Points: Kerala 7(20), Delhi 0(7).