Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy: Andhra beats Kerala by six wickets, ends winning streak

After winning three matches on the trot, Sanju Samson's men suffered their first defeat at the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy T20 tournament, going down to Andhra by six wickets in Mumbai.

File Picture: Ambati Rayudu-led Andhra Pradesh beat Kerala by six wickets.   -  K.V.S. Giri

The law of averages finally caught up with Kerala on Sunday. After winning three matches on the trot, Sanju Samson's men suffered their first defeat at the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy T20 tournament, going down to Andhra by six wickets in Mumbai.

After stunning two powerhouses of Indian cricket, Mumbai and Delhi, in back-to-back matches, not many would have expected Kerala to come up with such a disappointing show against an Andhra side that had lost all its three matches. Kerala's chances to make the knock-out stages are intact though, going into the last match in Group-E against Haryana on Tuesday.

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It was the batsmen who took Kerala to those famous wins against Mumbai and Delhi. They chased down daunting targets with admirable ease then but came a cropper against Andhra.

Kerala crawled to 112 for four after being put in. Openers Robin Uthappa and Mohammed Azharuddeen, as well as captain Sanju Samson, were back in the dugout inside the seventh over with just 30 runs on the board. Then Vishnu Vinod, one of the heroes in the win against Delhi, fell lbw to left-arm spinner Manish Golamaru, as Kerala slumped to 38 for four with nearly half the overs used up.

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Sachin Baby (51 not out, 34b, 1x4, 4x6) and Jalaj Saxena (27 not out, 34b, 1x4) ensured that the team went past 100 with a 74-run unbeaten fifth-wicket stand from 62 balls.

An asking rate of less than six was never going to cause a headache for an Andhra batting line-up featuring the likes of Ambati Rayudu, Srikar Bharat and Ricky Bhui. Andhra romped home with 2.5 overs to spare, riding on fine knocks from opener Ashwin Hebbar (48, 46b, 6x4, 1x6) and Rayudu 38 not out (27b, 4x4, 1x6).

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