After claiming a slender lead of 23 runs over Gujarat on day two of the quarter-final of the Ranji Trophy 2018-19, Kerala were all out for 171 in their second dig, thus setting a target of 195 runs for Gujarat for a place in the semi-final of the tournament at the Krishnagiri Stadium, Wayanad, on Wednesday.

Gujarat, who started the day at 97/4, lost their last six wickets for just 61 runs as pacers Basil Thampi and MD Nidheesh claimed three wickets each, while Sandeep Warrier impressed with 4/42.

For Gujarat, Skipper Parthiv Patel top-scored with 43 while Roosh Kalaria added 36 down the order.

But the pacy track at Wayanad, that accounted for Sanju Samson on day one – fractured finger – proved even more tough for Kerala batters to handle the second time around as well.

Pacer Chintan Gaja got rid of opener Mohammed Azharuddeen for a three ball-duck before Arzan Nagwaswalla accounted for Ponnam Rahul for 10. One down batsman Sijumon Joseph, primarily a spinner, then steadied Kerala with Vinoop Manoharan, before India international Axar Patel trapped Manoharan in front for 16. Skipper Sachin Baby hung around for a while scoring 24 off 43, but the dual nature of the pitch accounted for the skipper with Patel claiming his second victim of the day.

Nagwaswalla then added the wicket of Vishnu Vinod for nine. However, Jalaj Saxena came out all guns blazing and smacked an unbeaten 44 off 67 balls to boost Kerala. Gujarat though made a good comeback with Kalaria claiming a hat-trick removing the well-set Joseph for 56 followed by the wicket of Thampi – top-scored for Kerala in the first innings – with the fifth and the sixth deliveries of his over.  

Off the first delivery off his next over, Kalaraia claimed Nideesh to complete a hat-trick as Kerala slumped from 149/5 to 149/8. Piyush Chawla claimed Warrier for six-ball duck.

Samson came out to bat with a fractured finger and with Saxena added eight runs to the total before becoming Patel’s third scalp of the innings. That signalled the end of Kerala’s innings at 171 and stumps were drawn on Day 2.

Brief Scores: Kerala 185 & 171 set Gujarat 162 a target of 195 runs to win