Vijay Hazare Trophy: Venkatesh’s all-round show downs Kerala

Venkatesh Iyer showed on Thursday why the KKR management wanted to retain his services at such a high price.

Venkatesh Iyer

FILE PHOTO: Madhya Pradesh's Venkatesh Iyer during a Vijay Hazare match in 2018.   -  The Hindu

Venkatesh Iyer can hardly put a foot wrong these days. From the Kolkata Knight Riders’ bench to the playing eleven of India’s T20 team, it has been an incredible journey for the seaming all-rounder these past few months. A week ago, he saw his IPL salary go up from Rs. 20 lakh to Rs. 8 crore.

He showed on Thursday why the KKR management wanted to retain his services at such a high price. He scored an 84-ball 112 (7x4, 4x6) and then took three wickets to power Madhya Pradesh to a 40-run victory against Kerala in a Vijay Hazare Trophy One-Day match at Rajkot.

After losing its first match on Wednesday to Maharashtra by five wickets -- despite posting 328 for six batting first -- it was a much-needed win for Madhya Pradesh. In this game, its 329 for nine proved enough.

READ | Vijay Hazare Trophy: Tamil Nadu beats Kolkata by eight wickets

Venkatesh reached the middle in the 20th over at the fall of opener Abhishek Bhandari (49, 65b, 4x4, 2x6). Though he saw Rajat Patidar (49, 54b, 5x4) heading back to the pavilion soon, he forged what would turn out to be a match-winning partnership of 169 for the fourth wicket with Shubham Sharma (82, 67b, 9x4, 1x6).

Although Kerala needed a partnership like that, it was never to be.

After Rohan Kunnummal (66, 76b, 7x4, 1x6) and Mohammed Azharuddeen (34, 23b, 4x4, 1x6) put on 68 for the first wicket inside 10 overs, the chase failed to keep the momentum. Kerala’s hopes rested largely on Sachin Baby's (66, 66b, 2x4, 3x6) shoulders, but he was sent back by Venkatesh in the 43rd over.

The scores:

Madhya Pradesh 329/9 in 50 overs (Abhishek Bhandari 49, Rajat Patidar 49, Venkatesh Iyer 112, Shubham Sharma 82, Vishnu Vinod 3/59) bt Kerala 289 in 49.4 overs (Rohan Kunnummal 66, Mohammed Azharuddeen 34, Sachin Baby 66, Jalaj Saxena 34, Puneet Datey 4/59, Venkatesh Iyer 3/55).

For more updates, follow Sportstar on :