Vijay Hazare: Unadkat, Uthappa script Saurashtra's win in rain-interrupted contest

Chasing 110 in 20 overs in a contest frequently interrupted by rain, Saurashtra crossed the line for the loss of three wickets and with seven balls to spare.

Saurashtra made good use of the cloudy conditions and picked early wickets.   -  Shiv Kumar Pushpakar

A tight spell of fast bowling under cloudy, breezy morning conditions set the tone for Saurashtra’s eventual seven-wicket victory over Hyderabad in a Group ‘B’ Vijay Hazare Trophy contest at Air Force Complex on Sunday.

Chasing 110 in 20 overs in a contest frequently interrupted by rain, Saurashtra crossed the line for the loss of three wickets and with seven balls to spare.

The chase was engineered mainly by opener Robin Uthappa (35, 39b,3X4, 1X6), whose rapid start provided middle-order batsmen Prerak Mankad (27, 23b,3X4) and Arpit Vasavada (23, 28b, 2X4) to calmly steer the team through till the end.

Earlier, after a delayed start due to wet outfield, captain Jaydev Unadkat and fellow seamer Chirag Jani rattled the Hyderabad top order and helped reduce it to 22 for 3 in the 13th over.

There were numerous plays and misses in this period, which forced the batting side to play catch-up all through.

Although the recovery from B. Sandeep (76, 83b, 3X4, 3X6) and Sumanth Kolla (47, 80b, 4X4) kept Hyderabad in the contest, the decisive advantage was with Saurashtra.

Unadkat, who finished with four wickets, said, “The first 13-14 overs were crucial. That start had a big role to play in our victory.”

The frequent showers, however, unsettled the side. As it turned out, there was just enough time left to finish the contest.

Unadkat said, “There were not enough groundsmen here, and we had to help [pull the covers off]. But it was good that the match started. We were praying for the rains to stay away.”

The contest may have been even more one-sided had B. Sandeep (76, 83b, 3X4, 3X6) and Sumanth Kolla (47, 80b, 4X4) not steadied the ship during Hyderabad’s innings.

The duo survived tough spells by spinners Devendrasinh Jadeja and Prerak Mankad, and slowly built a partnership of 95.

Vigilant against most bowlers, the two decided to punish debutant leg-spinner Chudasama Yuvraj, who gave away 44 runs in his six overs. Some frantic run-making towards the end, mainly by Sandeep, got Hyderabad close to the 200-run mark in the allotted 45 overs.

Sandeep confessed it was difficult facing the spinners when he had walked in to bat, in the 13th over.

“Some balls were stopping and some were turning a fair bit. We needed a big partnership; thankfully, we got one, which took us this far into the contest,” he said after the defeat.

The other Group ‘B’ Vijay Hazare Trophy match at the Air Force Complex was abandoned due to wet outfield.

Overnight rain had caused much delay, and after 15 overs bowled in the 26-over contest – Uttar Pradesh was 95 for 2 - rain arrived again to force the officials to call it off.

Brief Scores

At Palam-I: Uttar Pradesh 95 for 2 in 15 overs (Upendra Yadav 42, Shivam Chaudhary 31; Pappu Roy 1 for 21) vs Odisha - Match abandoned

At Palam-II: Hyderabad 196 for 9 in 45 overs (B.Sandeep76, Sumanth Kolla 47; Jaydev Unadkat 4 for 33) loses to Saurashtra 110 for 3 in 18.5 overs (Robin Uthappa 35; Mehdy Hasan 2 for 13) by seven wickets via VJD Method

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