Vijay Hazare: Prashanth stars in Andhra’s six-wicket win

Prashanth, playing his first match in the tourney, applied himself to a game of attrition on a wicket that demanded one.

Prashanth Kumar made a match-winning 71.   -  Shiv Kumar Pushpakar

A well-paced half-century from D. B. Prashanth Kumar (71, 83b, 5X4, 2X6) steered Andhra to a six-wicket victory over Saurashtra in a Group ‘B’ Vijay Hazare Trophy contest at the Air Force Complex.

It was a tight contest between two in-form, unrelenting sides and it took some frantic run-making in the business end to help Andhra cross the line – needing to score at around six per over in the last 10 overs, middle-order batsmen B. Sumanth (43*, 49b, 3X4) and Ravi Teja (29*, 26b, 2X4) ran hard between the wickets and stroked five boundaries between them to reach their target of 215 in the 49th over.

READ: Vijay Hazare: Back-to-back wins for Hyderabad

The batsmen had joined hands in the 38th over, when Prashanth had holed out to Kamlesh Makwana at mid-off, top-edging a delivery from left-arm spinner Devendrasinh Jadeja.

With the set Ricky Bhui also having departed three overs earlier and with 69 still needed to win, a finishing act had to be found. Thankfully for Andhra, there were to be no more hiccups.

Prashanth, playing his first match in the tourney, applied himself to a game of attrition on a wicket that demanded one.

After the win, he admitted, “Our plan was to keep wickets till the end. The ball wasn’t coming on to the bat, and I decided to wait for the loose deliveries to hit.”

READ: Vijay Hazare: Batsmen join hands to give UP its first win

His innings wasn’t all run-of-the-mill singles. When the opportunity arose, he played the late cut and square drives for boundaries, and indulged himself with a couple of sixes, one of which (a pull) got him to his fifty.

Playing a dourer knock but also a very important one was Saurashtra’s Arpit Vasavada. A slow start and the loss of early wickets had demanded an innings of graft and he played one.

When he arrived in the middle, the team was struggling at 64 for 3 in the 23rd over; it was soon 64 for 4 as the set opener Sheldon Jackson (38, 59b, 5X4, 1X6) got out.

As it turned out, Arpit stayed till the 49th over, stitching useful partnerships with Prerak Mankad (32, 50b, 3X4) and Chirag Jani (40, 37b, 1X4, 2X6) and his anchoring role helped Saurashtra reach what proved to be a challenging total if not a match-winning one.

“I was looking to play through the middle overs safely, knowing we have players who can hit the ball,” he said after the match.

He was determined to bat through. “When Mankad got out (in the 40th over), I told myself ‘I have to bat through the 50 overs’.” It wasn’t enough for a victory, but it prevented the contest from being a one-sided one.

With its second loss in five matches, Saurashtra is now placed fourth in the Group ‘B’ points table. Andhra’s fourth win from five has lifted it to the top.

Brief Scores: At Palam-II: Saurashtra 214 for 7 in 50 overs (Arpit Vasavada 55, Chirag Jani 40*; Girinath Reddy 2 for 44, Karn Sharma 2 for 48) lost to Andhra 215 for 4 in 48.3 overs (D. B. Prashanth Kumar 71, B. Sumanth 43*; Chirag Jani 1 for 25) by six wickets.