Vijay Hazare Trophy: S Sreesanth’s five-for helps Kerala beat UP; R Samarth slams 158 as Karnataka thrash Bihar

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Bengaluru: On a comeback trail after the end of his spot-fixing ban, pacer S Sreesanth on Monday picked up his first five-wicket haul in List A cricket in almost 15 years to help Kerala pull off a three-wicket win over Uttar Pradesh in the Vijay Hazare Trophy.

The 37-year-old, who was not shortlisted in IPL 2021 auction’s final list, returned figures of five for 65 in his first List A game in more than eight years.

Sreesanth, who had returned to competitive cricket last month after his life ban was overturned, opened his account by dismissing opener Abhishek Sharma.

He then returned in the death overs to dismiss UP under 200 with wickets of skipper Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohsin Khan, Akshdeep Nath, and Shivam Sharma en-route to his only the second five-for of his List-A career.

S Sreesanth returned figures of five for 65 in his first List A game in more than eight years. Reuters

On his List-A return, the former India pacer, who has played 27 Tests, 53 ODIs and 10 T20Is, picked up two for 41 against Odisha on Saturday.

In reply, Kerala sealed the chase in 48.5 overs. Robin Uthappa (81 from 55 balls; 8×4, 4×6) and Sachin Baby (76 from 83 balls; 6×4, 1×6) gave the start before Jalaj Saxena (31) and MD Nidheesh (13 not out from six balls; 1×4, 1×6) sealed the chase with seven balls to spare.

This was Kerala’s second successive win in Group C but they remained second on table behind Railways, who thrashed Odisha by eight wickets at the M Chinnaswamy to be ahead by net run-rate.

R Samarth, Devdutt Padikkal lead charge as Karnataka thump Bihar 

Defending champions Karnataka bounced back with a bang after their first-match loss with a 267-run rout of Bihar.

Skipper R Samarth led the charge with an unbeaten 158 from 144 balls (15×4, 1×6), while fellow opener Devdutt Padikkal smashed a 98-ball 97 (8×4, 2×6) in a commanding 153-run opening partnership after Bihar opted to bowl at the Just Cricket Academy.

The only blip was their talented youngster Padikkal missing a century by just three runs after being castled by Rahul Kumar as he once again failed to convert his fifty.

After Padikkal’s departure, Samarth took charge with Krishnamurthy Siddharth who chipped in with a quickfire 76 (55 balls; 5×4, 4×6) to propel them to a huge 354/3.

In reply, Karnataka dismantled Bihar for 87 runs in just 27.2 overs with opener Sakibul Gani being their top-scorer (37), while eight batsmen failed to reach double digits.

Prasidh Krishna was Karnataka’s wrecker-in-chief (4/17) and had fine support from Abhimanyu Mithun and Shreyas Gopal who claimed two each.

Gujarat register second consecutive win 

Hosts Gujarat recorded their second successive win in the Vijay Hazare Trophy, beating Goa by eight wickets in an Elite Group A game, on Monday.

Gujarat had started their campaign with a three-wicket win over Chhattisgarh.

Opting to bat at the Lalbhai Contractor Stadium, Goa were bundled out for 159 in 45.4 overs, with Gujarat’s slow-left arm spinner Hardik Patel (3/34) doing the bulk of the damage.

Gujarat then chased the target in 27.4 overs with half-centuries from Priyank Panchal (57 not out off) and Bhargav Merai (57 off 55 balls).

Goa were struggling at 41/2 after losing opener Aditya Kaushik (4), who was castled by pacer Arzan Nagwaswalla (2/31).

The other opener Ishann Gadekar (18) also failed to convert his start and became slow-left arm bowler Hardik’s first scalp.

Gujarat kept making inroads and did not allow the opposition batsmen to settle down. One-down Snehal Kauthankar (23; 3×4) too failed to make it big and was trapped in front of the wicket by Hardik, leaving his side in a spot of bother at 50/3.

They lost half their side for 78 as skipper Amit Verma (15) and Suyash Prabhudessai (3) also fell cheaply. It was a patient 36 by wicket-keeper KD Eknath off 62 balls that took his team over the 120-run mark.

But pacer Nagwaswalla got his second wicket after dismissing Eknath as Goa slipped to 123/6 in the 39th over.

Darshan Misal, who came at number seven, top-scored with 44, with four boundaries and that helped them go past the 150-run mark, but was devoid of partners as Gujarat bowlers ran through Goa’s lower order.

For Gujarat, all the bowlers played their parts to perfection. Pacer Chintan Gaja (2/31) and spinner Piyush Chawla (2/32) also grabbed two wickets each.

Gujarat began the chase on a strong note, with openers Dhruv Raval (37 off 26 balls) and Panchal adding 53 for the first wicket.

Then Panchal and Bhargav Merai were involved in a 92-run stand for the second wicket and took the game away from Goa.

Brief Scores:

At KSCA Ground 2, Alur: Uttar Pradesh 283; 49.4 overs (Akashdeep Nath 68, Priyam Garg 57, Abhishek Goswami 54; Sreesanth 5/65) lost to Kerala 284/7; 48.4 overs (Robin Uthappa 81, Sachin Baby 76) by three wickets.

At Just Cricket Academy: Karnataka 354/3; 50 overs (Ravikumar Samarth 158 not out, Devdutt Padikkal 97, Krishnamurthy Siddharth 76) beat Bihar 87; 27.2 overs (Sakibul Gaini 37; Prasidh Krishna 4/17) by 267 runs.

At M Chinnaswamy Stadium: Odisha 230; 49.3 overs (Ankit Yadav 48; T Pradeep 3/54) lost to Railways 231/2; 44.3 overs (Shivam Chaudhary 81 not out, Pratham Singh 63, Arindam Ghosh 39 not out) by eight wickets.

Goa 159 (Darshan Misal 44; KD Eknath 36; Hardik Patel 3/34, Arzan Nagwaswalla 2/31) lost to Gujarat 162/2(Priyank Panchal 57 not out, Bhargav Merai 57; Deepraj Goankar 1/26, Amulya Pandrekar 1/29) by eight wickets.

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