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Ranji Trophy | Thampi’s late burst gives Kerala first outright win of the season

Say cheese! Kerala team is a happy bunch after defeating Bengal.
| Photo Credit: Special arrangement

 A late shot of adrenaline by Basil Thampi gave Kerala its first win of the season in the Ranji Trophy cricket tournament at the St. Xavier’s College ground here on Monday. Banished to patrol the ropes for a major part of the day, Thampi was summoned by captain Sanju Samson to bowl only after tea.

Chasing a mammoth target of 449, the Bengal lower-order, led by Shahbaz Ahmed frustrated Kerala in the post lunch session.

The seventh-wicket stand between Shahbaz Ahmed (80) and Karan Lal (40) added 83 quick runs and treated the Kerala spinners with disdain which forced Samson to turn to his medium-pacer.

Thampi responded in style by breaching the defence of Suraj Sindhu Jaiswal (13) and in the next over ran out Akash Deep (1) with a brilliant pick up and throw from mid-on.

A pumped up Thampi then wrapped up the Bengal innings when he had Shahbaz Ahmed skying a catch to Rohan Kunnummal at deep square-leg. With 16 deliveries Thampi ended Bengal’s spirited chase from Bengal to give Kerala a 109-run win.

Until Shahbaz and Karan joined forces, Kerala held the upper hand with spinners striking at regular intervals, reducing Bengal to 234 for six.

Jalaj Saxena, despite bowling with a swollen finger, was relentless and picked up wickets whenever the batters went after him. He finished with match figures of 13 for 172.

Manoj Tiwary, who got a reprieve on seven after being given leg-before off a Jalaj no-ball, used the reverse and traditional sweeps to pile pressure on the off-spinner. However, the extra aggression from Bengal batters only resulted in their dismissals.

Easwaran (65) tried to hit Jalaj over mid-wicket but ended up holing out to N.P. Basil and Tiwary’s (35) urge to dominate Jalaj resulted in a catch to Sanju. The trend continued with Abhishek Porel (28), after slamming Shreyas Gopal for consecutive sixes, gave a tame return catch.

Sanju was forced to turn to Basil when the seventh wicket stand between Shahbaz and Karan became threatening.

He gave Kerala a fortuitous breakthrough when Karan (40) swished and nicked but the ball popped out from wicket-keeper Azharuddeen’s gloves.

However, substitute fielder Krishna Prasad was alert enough to gather the rebound. After tea, Thampi ran in hard to end Bengal’s resistance.

The scores:

Kerala — 1st innings: 363.

Bengal — 1st innings: 180.

Kerala — 2nd innings: 265/6 decl.

Bengal — 2nd innings: Abhimanyu Easwaran c Basil b Jalaj 65, Ranjot Singh Kharia c Thampi b Jalaj 2, Sudip Kumar Gharami c Akshay b Shreyas 31, Anstup Majumdar c (sub) Krishna Prasad b Jalaj 16, Manoj Tiwary c Sanju b Jalaj 35, Abhishek Porel c & b Shreyas 28, Shahbaz Ahmed c Rohan b Thampi 80, Karan Lal c (sub) Krishna Prasad b Thampi 40, Sauraj Sindhu Jaiswal b Thampi 13, Akash Deep run out 1, Ankit Mishra (not out) 0; Extras (b-15, lb-10, nb-3): 28; Total (in 87.4 overs): 339.

Fall of wickets: 1-27, 2-77, 3-113, 4-151, 5-180, 6-234, 7-317, 8-335, 9-337.

Kerala bowling: Jalaj 36-3-104-4, Akshay 14-2-48-0, Shreyas 23-2-96-2, Baby 5-0-26-0, Sanju 1-0-11-0, Basil 6-2-21-1, Thampi 2.4-0-8-2.

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