Sports

Ranji Trophy: Kerala loses as Vidarbha enter final

Krishnagiri (Wayanad): Umesh Yadav starred with a match haul of 12/79 as defending champion Vidarbha routed Kerala by an innings and 11 runs on the second day of the Ranji Trophy semifinal here on Friday to reach the final for the second year running.

This was the first time Kerala has qualified for the semifinals of the premier domestic competition.

Umesh added five wickets to his first innings haul of 7/48 as Vidarbha bundled out Kerala for 91 in the second innings to seal the low-scoring contest a little after lunch on the second day of the five-day match.

Resuming at 171/5, Vidarbha finished at 208 in 52.4 overs to take the lead past the 100-run mark thanks to some lusty hitting by Umesh (17, 8b, 1×4, 2×6) at No.10. However, another poor batting performance by the hosts despite the bright start provided in the second innings by K B Arun Karthick (36, 33b, 5×4, 1×6) and Jalaj Saxena (7) resulted in a swift end to the proceedings. Kerala went into lunch at 66 for 7, trailing by 36 runs. Yash Thakur proved to be the ideal foil for Umesh (5/31), taking 4/28 as Kerala collapsed from 59/1 to 66/7 in the space of five overs.

After lunch, Umesh took two more wickets to warp up the tie. Kerala had begun the second innings confidently, shuffling the batting order on a pitch which favoured the fast bowlers. Karthick batted aggressively against Umesh and Rajneesh Gurbani.

The plan worked for a while Umesh broke through, having Saxena caught behind by Akshay Wadkar.

Vishnu Vinod, who made the top score in the first innings, was pushed up the order to No. 3, but struggled against Umesh’space and movement, and edged one to the slip cordon after making 15.

Thakur replaced Gurbani and got Karthick with a delivery that came in.

The run-out of captain Sachin Baby to a direct hit put Kerala in trouble. Loss of wickets at regular intervals didn’t help the home team’s cause as Umesh and Thakur kept striking one blow after the other.

Earlier, the Kerala bowlers did well to restrict Vidarbha to 208 as Sandeep Warrier took 5 for 57.

The visiting team had lost its last eight wickets for 38 runs in 10 overs.

Umesh had on Thursday destroyed Kerala in the first innings with a seven-wicket haul and returned on Friday to snuff out the host’s hopes of a fightback.

Umesh had taken nine wickets in the quarterfinal win over Uttarakhand.

Vidarbha await the winner of the other semifinal between Karnataka and Saurashtra being played in Bengaluru.

Brief scores: Kerala 105 and 91 in 24.5 overs (K B Arun Karthick 36; Umesh Yadav 5/31, Yash Thakur 4/28) lost to Vidarbha 208 in 52.4 overs (Faiz Fazal 75; Sandeep Warrier 5/57).

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