Vijay Hazare Trophy: Anukul, Nadeem lead Jharkhand to fourth successive win

Jammu and Kashmir falters to a 73-run defeat.

File Photo: Shahbaz Nadeem’s five-wicket haul broke the back of Jammu and Kashmir.   -  B. Jothi Ramalingam

Anukul Roy, with the bat, and Shahbaz Nadeem, with the ball, decimated Jammu and Kashmir as Jharkhand effected a 73-run victory in a one-sided Group ‘C’ contest at the M. A. Chidambaram Stadium here on Thursday. The fourth successive win consolidated Jharkhand’s position at the top of the points table.

Anukul’s unbeaten 96 helped Jharkhand set a target of 222. In reply, J&K was all out for 148 in 42.2 overs, with Nadeem finishing with figures of 5 for 17.

J&K’s chase stuttered from the start. With fast bowler Varun Aaron not playing, Rahul Shukla started the proceedings and struck in the first over when he removed opener Ahmad Omar Banday for four. The wicket seemed to have eased out a bit when Irfan Pathan and Shubham Khajuria batted for their 35-run partnership. Once skipper Ishan Kishan brought on his strike spinner Nadeem into the attack, however, the complexion of the match changed. First, he trapped Pathan (18) leg before, and then had Khajuria (18) caught behind. After those blows, J&K never recovered.

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When it seemed there was no stopping the inevitable, Mohammed Mudhasir and Aamir Aziz forged a entertaining 72-run stand (off 58 balls) for the last wicket. Mudhasir did the bulk of the scoring, scoring a quickfire fifty off 24 balls, a knock which was studded with six sixes and two fours. Finally, part-time seamer Anand Singh dismissed Aziz (17), ending J&K’s innings as Mudhasir remained unbeaten on 53.

Shaky start

Earlier, J&K made the most out of the morning conditions after inserting Jharkhand in to bat. Irfan Pathan started off with a maiden first over and from the other end Mudhasir bowled fast. After a watchful start, Kishan (11) edged one off Pathan to Ian Chauhan at first slip.

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Anand was quick to follow him after being trapped lbw by Mudhasir on 2, with Jharkhand 14 for 2 in 5.1 overs. Utkarsh Singh and Virat Singh negated the pace duo Pathan and Mudhasir well before spin was introduced. Left-arm spinner Waseem Raza struck in his first over and ended the partnership; Utkarsh (11) played straight into the hands of Rasool at short midwicket for a soft dismissal.

Saurabh Tiwary (3, 4b), walking in next, fell to Raza in his second over, caught at deep square leg by Aziz. Jharkhand desperately needed a partnership and one of 34 runs was made, until Raza got his third wicket in the form of Sumit Kumar for 18. A well-set Virat’s wicket in the next over left Jharkhand reeling at 88 for 6 in 28.4 overs.

Anukul leads revival

Jharkhand didn’t look like reaching 150 when Anukul took charge of the floundering innings. He kept it simple — played straight, rotated the strike and went after the bad deliveries. He was well-supported by Nadeem at the other end and they put on a partnership of 77 runs, with Anukul notching up his half-century off 53 balls.

With 200 looking possible, Anukul hit three successive sixes and helped carry Jharkhand to 221 for 8. When the innings ended, he was four runs short of a century; his 72-ball knock had four boundaries and seven sixes. Raza was J&K’s most successful bowler, with 3 for 51.

The total turned out to be quite sufficient in the end as Jharkhand sustained its winning juggernaut in the competition.

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