Dharamsala: Delhi’s unbeaten run in the Vijay Hazare Trophy was today brought to a halt by Kerala, who produced a team effort to eke out a stunning two-wicket win in a weather-hit Group B match here.
Coming into the match with four wins from as many outings, fancied Delhi were shocked by Kerala in the game reduced to 42-over-a-side contest due to wet outfield. The loss, however, will hardly have any affect on Delhi’s knockout chances as they are sitting pretty at the top with 16 points from five games.
Delhi are all but through, making it a four-way fight between Maharashtra (10 points), Kerala (10), Himachal Pradesh (10) and Uttar Pradesh (8) points for the second spot. Sent into bat, Delhi were shot out for a mediocre 177 in 39.3 overs with Dhruv Shorey top-scoring with a 90-ball 71, which included five boundaries and a six.
Barring Shorey, Delhi batsmen struggled against the moving ball in overcast conditions. Milind Kumar (25) and skipper Pradeep Sangwan (25) were the next best scorers. Medium pacer M D Niheesh picked up four wickets for Kerala, giving away 41 runs, while Fazil Fanoos (2/27) accounted for two.
In reply, Kerala overwhelmed the target in 35.4 overs with captain Sachin Baby top-scoring with a fine 52 off 57 balls, which included seven boundaries. Wicketkeeper Sanju Samson (29), Jalaj Saxena (26), Vishnu Vinod (21) and Mohammed Azharuddeen (21) also made useful contributions with the bat.
Navdeep Saini (4/39) starred for Delhi with the ball and got good support from Kulwant Khejroliya (3/27). In another Group B match at Nadaun, Bengal defeated Tripura by 109 runs to taste their first win of the tournament in another curtailed affair.
Asked to bat, Bengal scored a huge 249 all out after the match was reduced to 33-over-a-side game because of wet outfield and then shot out Tripura for 140 in 29 overs. The other Group B match of the day between Himachal Pradesh and Maharashtra in Bilaspur was abandoned without a ball being bowled owing to wet outfield.
Brief Scores of Group A matches:
At Dharamsala: Delhi 177 all out in 39.3 overs (Dhruv Shorey 71; M D Nidheesh 4/41) lost to Kerala 178 for 8 in 35.4 overs (Sachin Baby 52; Navdeep Saini 4/39) by 2 wickets.
At Nadaun: Bengal 249 all out in 33 overs (Vivek Singh 84, Abhishek Raman 76; Abhijit Chakraborty 7/40) beat Tripura 140 all out in 29 overs (Joydeep Banik 51; Alok Pratap Singh 4/36) by 109 runs.
At Bilaspur: Match between Himachal Pradesh and Maharashtra abandoned due to wet outfield.