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Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy: Kerala lose thriller to Rajasthan; Delhi thrash Bengal

Wankhede and BKC have witnessed low-scoring matches, but Rajasthan and Kerala encounter was one of the few matches witnessing high scores © Getty Images (File Photo)
Wankhede and BKC have witnessed low-scoring matches, but Rajasthan and Kerala encounter was one of the few matches witnessing high scores © Getty Images (File Photo)

Mumbai: Apr 6, 2014

Led by skipper Rajesh Bishnoi‘s blistering 75 off 36 balls, Rajasthan rallied brilliantly from a difficult situation to beat Kerala by three wickets with a ball to spare for their second straight victory in the Syed Mushtaq Ali All India T20 Group B game on Thursday.

In another Group B game at the Wankhede Stadium, Delhi scored their first victory in three matches when they thrashed a lacklustre Bengal by seven wickets, thus inflicting the third straight defeat on the eastern side.

Chasing a huge target of 173, Rajasthan started poorly at Bandra Kurla Complex ground with four batsmen back in the hut with only 49 runs on board in the first eight over.

Bishnoi, who was dropped on nine in the 10th over, capitalised on the reprieve and forged a 47-run stand with Naresh Gehlot and a 32-ball 70-run partnership with Divya Pratap Singh. The Rajasthan captain struck five fours and six sixes in his whirlwind knock before being dismissed by a freak run out in the last ball of the penultimate over.

Gehlot made 42 off 37 balls (5×4,1×6), while Divya Pratap Singh made an unbeaten 18-ball 27 (3×4). Vinod Kumar picked up two wickets for 35 runs, while Manukrishnan, Basil Thampi and Rakesh KJ bagged a wicket each. Earlier, asked to bat, Kerala, who defeated Delhi in their opening game, scored the runs briskly and posted 172 for three with openers VA Jagadeesh and Rakesh adding 40 runs for the first wicket.

Jagadeesh made a 19-ball 15, while Rakesh scored 16 off 21 balls and both struck two fours each. Despite losing the openers in successive overs, Sanju Viswanath Samson took charge and carted the bowlers all around the park to make a brilliant 39-ball 68, laced with six fours and four sixes. Samson hit Deepak Chahar for two sixes in the 14th over but perished in the 18th over with the team score on 144. Rohan Prem made an unbeaten 48 that included four fours to guide Kerala to the imposing total.

Aniket Choudhary, Gajendra Singh Parihar and Aditya Garhwal picked up a wicket apiece. Rajasthan will take on Baroda, also with two wins under their belt, on Friday at the Wankhede and the winner would be in a commanding position to take the sole spot from the group to progress to the final against the top team of Group A which will be held in Rajkot.

In the Bengal-Delhi clash, the northern side restricted the former to a paltry 119 for eight and then easily reached the target for the loss of three wickets with six balls to spare. Put in to bat, Bengal batted poorly and had little to show for barring wicketkeeper and opener Shreevats Goswami’s 40-ball 45 with the help of two sixes and three fours.

Sumit Narwal, Javed Khan and Varun Sood picked up two wickets each. Delhi lost opener and captain Puneet Bisht cheaply while chasing the modest target but their innings was steadied by a partnership of 76 in 150 balls between opener Mohit Sharma (41 in 37 balls) and Samarth Singh (39 in 49 balls). Nearing the target, Delhi lost both these batsmen in successive balls against left arm pacer Sourav Mondal before Yogesh Nagar (20 not out) and Jagrit Anand (15 not out) guided them home with an unbroken stand of 36 runs.

Nagar finished the match by hitting a six and a four to the mid wicket region in successive balls off Sayan Ghosh. While Bengal are out of reckoning, Delhi too have slim chances of progressing to the final.

Brief score:

Kerala 172 for 3 (Sanju Samson 68, Rohan Prem 48) lost to Rajasthan 173 for 7 in 19.5 overs (Rajesh Bishnoi 75, Naresh Gehlot 42; Vinod Kumar 2 for 35)

Bengal 119 for 8 (S Goswami 45, S Narwal 2 for 13, J Khan 2 for 24, V Sood 2 for 32) lost to Delhi 122 for 3 in 19 overs (M Sharma 41, Samarth Singh 39, Y Nagar not out 20, J Anand not out 15; S Mondal 2 for 26)

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