Robin Uthappa (81, 55b, 8x4, 4x6) starred for the second match in a row as Kerala defeated Uttar Pradesh by three wickets in a Vijay Hazare Trophy Elite Group C match at the Alur Ground near here on Monday.
Uttar Pradesh, who was asked to bat, scored 283, with sizeable contributions from Abhishek Goswami (54, 63b, 4x4, 2x6), Priyam Garg (57, 59b, 5x4) and Akshdeep Nath (68, 60b, 9x4).
Sreesanth, though expensive, claimed five wickets (9.4-0-65-5), with four of them coming at the death. Uttar Pradesh crossed 250 in the 46th over and seemed well placed for an end-overs heist with set batsman Nath still at the crease. Sreesanth foiled the plan as he struck twice each in the 48th and 50th overs to limit the damage Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Co. could do.
In reply, Kerala chased the target down with seven balls to spare. Uthappa, who had scored a match-winning century in the first game against Odisha, stitched together a 104-run partnership for the second wicket with Sanju Samson (29, 32b) off just 76 balls. But the duo fell within three balls of each other, leaving Kerala in a spot of bother at 122/3.
But Sachin Baby rose to the challenge, scoring 76 important runs (83b, 6x4, 1x6). The 71-run association for the fourth wicket with Vathsal Govind (30, 39b) and the 62-run stand for the sixth wicket with Jalaj Saxena (31, 49b) were instrumental in Kerala’s win.
Baby eventually fell with 14 runs still required off 14 balls. But M.D. Nidheesh clubbed a four and a six as Kerala crossed the finish line with ease.
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