Kerala have beaten Gujarat by 113 runs to qualify for the Ranji Trophy semifinals for the first time in their 61 year history. In a low-scoring quarterfinal played at the Krishnagiri Stadium in Wayanad, Gujarat failed to chase down the 195 run target to be bundled out for 81 runs and lose on the third day of the contest. Basil Thampi emerged as the Man of the Match with eight wickets in the fixture – three in the first innings and a fifer in the second.
In the run chase, Rahul V Shah top-scored with 33 runs followed by a 17-run inning by Dhruv Raval. Elsewhere, there were nine players who finished in single digits with eight of them not even crossing 5 runs. The collapse began quickly with the Parthiv Patel-captained side 18/4 after nine overs. At drinks, they ambled across to 34/4.
Shah and Raval staged a mini reprise with a 39 run partnership for the fifth wicket. However, after Raval fell to Basil Thampi in the 21st over, things got easier for Kerala. No one offered real resistance even as Shah remained unbeaten at the end.
Kerala’s Dav Whatmore becomes the second foreign coach to take a team to #RanjiTrophy semifinals after Maharashtra’s David Andrews. Kerala, who made their first-class debut on November 9, 1957, have taken 22,350 days for their maiden last four appearance.
— Sidhanta Patnaik (@sidhpat) January 17, 2019
On the second day which was dominated by the bowlers and saw sixteen wickets fall by the wayside, it was Kerala who somehow reached 171 runs. Seam movement and uneven bounce constantly tested batsmen and at the end of it, Sijomon Joseph’s gritty half-century (56 off 148 balls) and Jalaj Saxena’s knock (44 not out off 67 balls) helped Kerala to 171 runs.
The day also saw some late drama as Sanju Samson came out to bat as the last man for Kerala despite a fractured finger in a bid to help Saxena add some more runs to Kerala’s lead. They were eventually bowled out for 171 in their second innings after Roosh Kalaria (3/36) took a hat-trick to trigger a mini-collapse.
In the morning session, Kerala dismissed Gujarat for 162 to take a first-innings lead of 23, pivotal under the conditions, as pacers Sandeep Warrier (4/42), Thampi (3/61) and MD Nidheesh (3/38) shared the spoils among them.
BRIEF SCORES: Kerala: 185/9 and 171 beat Gujarat: 162 and 81 all out (Rahul V Shah 33*; Basil Thampi 5/27, Sandeep Warrier 4/30) by 113 runs to qualify for the semifinals.