Ranji Trophy: Bhatt bowls Andhra to its first win

Andhra defeated Jammu & Kashmir by four wickets in this Ranji Trophy Group C match, after conceding a first innings lead of 79. When it achieved its target of 191, just two and a half overs were remaining.

Bhargav Bhatt bowled well to register his 10th five-wicket haul. He finished with nine wickets for the match and was named Man-of-the-Match.   -  P.K. Ajith Kumar

Andhra’s cricketers scored its maiden victory of the season on a warm Sunday. And it did that in remarkable fashion at the Brabourne Stadium.

Andhra defeated Jammu & Kashmir by four wickets in this Ranji Trophy Group C match, after conceding a first innings lead of 79. When it achieved its target of 191, just two and a half overs were remaining.

It was a chase that Andhra could look back with a sense of gratification; it is never easy to make about four runs an over in the fourth innings under pressure. D.B. Ravi Teja’s second fifty of match (50, 73b, 5x4, 1x6) proved crucial, as did the 62 runs he put on fourth wicket with A.G. Pradeep.

But when the simple catch he offered was accepted by Adil Reshi at extra cover off seamer Ram Dayal, Andhra seemed to be in a spot of bother, especially given the ability it has shown in this match to stage stunning collapses. The young Ashwin Hebbar, however, held his nerves to steer his team home with an unbeaten 27 that he is not going to forget in a hurry.

If a batsman or two from J&K had shown such application in its second innings earlier in the day, it would not have lost this game and could have taken three points (on account of taking the first innings lead). After resuming at the overnight 31 for two, it was dismissed for 111, within a couple of overs after lunch.

It lost its last five wickets while adding eight runs. And there was no demon on the wicket, though left-arm spinner Bhargav Bhatt bowled well to register his 10th five-wicket haul in First Class cricket. He finished with nine wickets for the match and was named Man-of-the-Match.

His captain Hanuma Vihari sounded grateful to him as he spoke about what was a badly needed victory for the team. “We came here with just two points and was determined to post a win,” he said. “We were banking on Bhargav on the last day. And I must say Ravi and the young Ashwin managed our chase well.”

Vihari’s counterpart Mithun Manhas said one bad session cost J&K dearly. “We should have batted well in the morning and saved this match,” he said. “But, Andhra played better cricket.”

Andhra, which has taken its tally to eight points from three games, will stay on in Mumbai for its next match, against Haryana, to be played at the Wankhade Stadium from October 27. J&K, who has seven points, will travel to Jaipur for its match against Services.

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