A narrow win wasn't enough for Kerala to get through to final stage of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. It defeated Uttar Pradesh by one run (via VJD method) in a rain-curtailed Group B contest — Kerala's last — at the Kariyavattom Sports Hub here on Sunday.
Four wins and two losses meant Kerala had 16 points and finished fourth in the seven-team group. It had the same points tally as Rajasthan and Vidarbha but its inferior net run-rate against these teams proved fatal.
Rajasthan, with a net run-rate of 1.938, qualified second, behind Tamil Nadu, the group topper, while Vidarbha (0.566) edged out Kerala (0.503) for the third place.
Opting to bat first, Kerala was required to score heavily to entertain any chances of making progress. Its game-plan came unstuck as its batsmen, with the sole exception of Sanju Samson, failed badly against the rival bowlers. UP restricted Kerala to 119 for 8 in 20 overs.
Though cautious, Sanju's 28-ball essay of 38 was a pleasing knock. He had no support from the other end, and perished while attempting to increase the run-rate. A steady drizzle soon after the innings left UP having to score 78 in 11 overs to win.
It scored 42 for 4 in seven overs, before rain interrupted the proceedings again. This proved a boon for the home side as it won via the VJD method.
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