A 32-ball 62 from Sachin Baby helped Kerala post a badly-needed victory against Jammu & Kashmir, by 62 runs, at the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy T20 tournament here on Thursday. But, in order to qualify for the knock-out stage, Kerala needs not just to win its last match, against Meghalaya on Saturday, but the results of some other matches will have to go the way it wants.
Things mostly went the way Kerala wanted against J&K, though. Baby’s blitzkrieg took Kerala to 184 for four; J&K was bowled out for 122 with an over remaining.
Opener Shubham Khajuria struck 30 off 14 balls (4x4, 1x6), but once he went, no other batter spent enough time in the middle to raise any hopes of an upset. Seamers Basil Thampi and K.M. Asif took three wickets each on a day India’s fastest bowler, Umram Malik, conceded 41 runs.
Umran’s lone wicket was that of Baby (7x4, 3x6). The left-hander by that time had added 90 off only 55 balls with skipper Sanju Samson (61, 56b, 6x4, 1x6).
Meanwhile, Karnataka defeated Services by eight wickets to brighten its chances of qualifying for the knock-out stage. Excellent spells from seamer Vyshak Vijaykumar (three for 24) and off-spinner K. Gowtham (two for 13) made life difficult for the Services batters, who could only make 129 for eight. Amit Pachhara (35, 24b, 2x4, 2x6) was the top-scorer.
Karnataka chased down the modest target with an over and five balls to spare. Opener L.R. Chethan remained 61 not out (52b, 6x4, 1x6). He put on 91 for the unfinished third wicket with Manish Pandey (37 not out, 38b, 3x4, 1x6).
Karnataka’s coach P.V. Shashikanth said the bowlers had done a good job and didn’t allow Services to make a big score. “I was particularly happy with the way Gowtham bowled,” he said. “He was superb and his spell proved crucial. Vyshak and Vidhwath also bowled really well.”
Going into the final round of matches in Group C, Karnataka and Haryana have 20 points each, while Kerala and Services are on 16.