Defeats Delhi by chasing down a huge target, thanks to Uthappa and Vinod’s exploits.
Kerala’s giant- killing act continued at the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy T20 tournament in Mumbai. A day after stunning Mumbai, Sanju Samson’s men crushed a star-studded Delhi by six wickets on Friday to register its third straight win.
Kerala moved to the top of Group-E with 12 points and a healthy net run-rate of +1.395. That the side chased down Delhi’s daunting target of 213 — the highest in the tournament’s history — with an over to spare helped in improving the run-rate, which could come into play in deciding the qualifiers for the knock-out phase.
It was a masterclass chase by the Kerala batsmen, led by Robin Uthappa, whose 91 (54b, 3×4, 8×6) nearly took the side home. Credit should also go to Vishnu Vinod who hammered an unbeaten 71 off just 38 balls (3×4, 5×6). The two added 133 for the fourth wicket.
The Kerala innings got off to a disastrous start when Mohammed Azharuddeen, the hero against Mumbai, was dismissed for a duck by Ishant Sharma, with Anju Rawat taking an excellent diving catch behind the stumps.
Skipper Samson (16) and Sachin Baby (22) flattered only to deceive and things could have gone either way at 71 for three, when Vishnu joined Uthappa.
The two ensured the asking rate was under control all the time and rotated the strike well when they weren’t hitting the hapless bowlers all around the ground.
Earlier, skipper Shikhar Dhawan (77, 48b, 7×4, 3×6) led from the front after Delhi was put in. He stepped out to drive S. Sreesanth delightfully on either side of the wicket to put the Kerala bowling under pressure.
Lalit Yadav (52 not out, 25b, 5×4, 3×6) and Rawat (27 not out, 10b, 1×4, 3×6) then took the score beyond 200, but it was not beyond Kerala’s reach.