Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 Trophy: Kerala snap Vidarbha's unbeaten streak
The reigning Ranji Trophy champions won the toss and elected to field first. Their ploy of sending the opposition in seemed to pay dividends in the early exchanges as Vidarbha dismissed Vishnu Vinod and Sanju Samson in the PowerPlay.
However, Robin Uthappa and Sachin Baby stitched together a crucial fourth-wicket stand to thwart Vidarbha’s attempts of running through the batting line-up with the former, in particular, proving to be the bowling side’s kryptonite.
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Uthappa remained unbeaten and notched up a masterful innings of 69 off 39 balls while Baby popped up with a handy knock of 39 off 37 deliveries. For Vidarbha, Darshan Nalkande was the pick of the bowlers as he picked up three wickets whereas Akshay Karnewar, Rajneesh Gurbani and Yash Thakur scalped one apiece.
In reply, the visitors got off to a poor start as Kerala got the better of Akshay Kolhar, Faiz Fazal, Ganesh Satish and Jitesh Sharma in the PowerPlay. Thereafter, Vidarbha never seemed to be in the game as the asking rate kept increasing incessantly.
And, although Akshay Wadkar and Karnewar tried to salvage something, they couldn’t really muster an effort capable of ruffling Kerala’s feathers.
Sandeep Warrier was the stand-out performer with the ball for the hosts while Akshay Chandran and KM Asif supported him ably.
The loss for Vidarbha throws the group wide open with at least four teams in the reckoning for a place in the next phase of the competition. And, that sets up the final few encounters quite well.