Vijay Hazare Trophy: Sijomon shines again for Kerala, with ball this time

Sijomon Joseph took five for 33 as Kerala defeated Chhattisgarh by five wickets. It needed only 34.3 overs to go past Chhattisgarh’s 189 and post its second win in as many days.

Sijomon Joseph’s five-wicket haul helped Kerala beat Chhattisgarh.

Sijomon Joseph is turning out to be the trump card for Kerala in the Vijay Hazare Trophy one-day tournament at Rajkot. A day after helping Kerala score a stunning victory with his bat, he used his primary skill, left-arm spin, on Sunday to star again.

He took five for 33 as Kerala defeated Chhattisgarh by five wickets. It needed only 34.3 overs to go past Chhattisgarh’s 189 and post its second win in as many days.

Sijomon was promoted up the order and he delivered too, making 27 off 30 balls (2x2, 2x6). It was his 42-run partnership with Vinoop Manoharan (54 not out, 72b, 9x4) that arrested what could have been a costly collapse.

After openers Rohan Kunnummal (36, 36b, 6x4) and Mohammed Azharuddeen (45, 37b, 5x4, 1x6) put on 82 inside 12 overs, Kerala had slumped to 89 for four when Sijomon joined Vinoop. Their partnership put Kerala’s chase back on track.

Vishnu Vinod (26 not out) -- his record seventh-wicket stand with Sijomon had turned the match against Maharashtra -- then gave ample support to Vinoop. They added 62 for the unfinished sixth wicket to take their side home.

Kerala’s team management should be happy with the decision to send in Vinoop, who usually bats much lower down the order, at one-drop. The same may not be said perhaps about its rival’s decision to bat first after winning the toss, as Chhattisgarh was bowled out in 46.2 overs.

After losing a wicket off the first ball – Akhil Herwadkar trapped lbw by Basil Thampi – Sanjeet Desai (32, 38b, 2x4, 1x6) and Harpreet Singh Bhalla (98, 128b, 11x4, 1x6) raised 93 for the second wicket. Nobody else managed 15 though, as Chhattisgarh lost its last nine wickets for an addition of 96. There were two wickets apiece for Kerala’s new-ball pair of Thampi and M.D. Nidheesh.

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