Fiery Umesh leads Vidarbha to second straight Ranji Trophy final
Umesh Yadav finished with match haul of 12/79. (AFP Image)

Umesh Yadav completed his second five-wicket haul of the match to star in Vidarbha’s dominating innings victory against Kerala in the semi-final of the 2018-19 Ranji Trophy. The fast bowler, who finished with 7/48 in the first innings, picked up 5 for 31 in the second dig to take his match tally to 12 wickets and bowl Kerala out for 91. Vidarbha notched up a victory by an innings and 11 runs and secured their passage to a second consecutive Ranji Trophy final.

The match lasted a total of four-and-a-half sessions and 106 overs. After rolling over Kerala for 106 in the first innings on Day 1 yesterday, Vidarbha seemed poised for a reasonable first-innings lead after finishing the day on 171 for 5. But on Friday morning, they found themselves struggling against the pace and seam of Sandeep Warrier and Basil Thampi. From 171 for 5, Vidarbha lost their last five wickets for 37 runs with Warrier picking up his ninth First-Class five-wicket haul.

Warrier finished with 5/57, while Thampi returned figures of 3 for 64 to restrict Vidarbha’s first-innings lead to 102. As far a bridge as it was to cross, Kerala started well in their second dig, only if it were to be compared the way they fared in the first innings. 28 runs on the board, Jalaj Saxena, promoted up the order to open the innings was dismissed cheaply before Arun Karthik and Vishnu Vinod tried to forge a partnership. But the stand could last for only 31 runs, before Umesh inflicted carnage on Karnataka.

With the wicket of Vinod, all hell broke loose. Karthik was trapped LBW by Yash Thakur, Sachin Baby was run out for nought. Ponnam Rahul and Sijimon Joseph became Thakur’s next two victims – all three wickets coming inside the fourth over bowled by him. With Kerala struggling at 73/7, Umesh returned to castle Basil Thampi and dismiss MD Nidheesh to complete yet another five-for in Ranji Trophy.

Brief scores: Vidarbha 208 (Faiz Fazal 75; Sandeep Warrier 5-57) beat Kerala 106 (Vishnu Vinod 37; Umesh Yadav 7-48) & 91 (Arun Karthik 36; Umesh 5-31) by an innings and 11 runs.