Kerala creates history by entering Ranji semifinals

Updates from :  the Hindu :

Thampi, who was named man of the match and Warrier finished with eight wickets each.

Under a bright sun, which had just begun to warm up a cold Thursday morning at the Wayanad Cricket Stadium, Kerala’s young cricketers claimed their rightful place in history.

They became the first Kerala team to reach the semifinals of the Ranji Trophy. The State had started playing in India’s premier domestic tourney since 1957-58.

The six-decade old wait came to an end when P. Rahul ran a few yards back from his position at point to take a tumbling catch. That was the last wicket of Gujarat as Kerala won by 113 runs, with two days and a half to spare.

Fittingly, that wicket was taken by Sandeep Warrier, Kerala’s leading bowler in the competition. When Arzan Nagwaswalla’s attempt to hit his shot-pitched ball over cover ended up in Rahul’s hands, it became his 39th wicket for the season.

The swing bowler finished the match with eight for 72. He wasn’t the only Kerala to take eight wickets, though.

His new-ball partner Basil Thampi claimed five for the innings — for the first time in what is 27th First Class game — to register the match figures of eight for 88. He was also was named Man-of-the-Match (he had top-scored with 37 in Kerala’s first innings with some lusty blows down the order).

Together, the Kerala pace twin has scalped 72 from nine matches in this tournament.

It was always going to be a tough task for Gujarat against such a talented pair of quicks. And it was even more so on a third-day wicket that still looked green and was two-paced.

The visitors, who started their second innings on Thursday morning chasing 195, needed to survive the morning session without too much damage to entertain any hopes at all. But, that was not to be.

It all began with Thampi uprooting the off stump of Kathan Patel with a ball that came sharply in. Five balls later, he had Priyank Panchal, Gujarat’s run-machine, lbw.

Now, the 2017 champion’s hopes rested mainly on skipper Parthiv Patel, but in the very next over, he was run out by a brilliant piece of fielding from his counterpart, Sachin Baby, who came up with a direct hit from mid-on.

The wickets continued to fall regularly, though Rahul Shah impressed on his debut, batting at one drop. He was unbeaten on 37 when the end came in the extended morning session, as Kerala felled the third former champion this season.

In the semifinal, it will meet the winner of the Vidarbha-Uttarakhand match.

The scores:

Kerala – 1st Innings: 185

Gujarat – 1st Innings: 162

Kerala – 2nd Innings: 171

Gujarat – 2nd Innings: Kathan Patel b Thampi 5, Priyank Panchal lbw b Thampi 3, Rahul Shah (not out) 33, Parthiv Patel run out (Baby) 0, Rujul Bhatt c Vinoop b Warrier 0, Dhruv Raval c Azharuddeen b Thampi 17, Roosh Kalaria b Thampi 2, Axar Patel c Azharuddeen b Warrier 2, Piyush Chawla b Warrier 4, Chintan Gaja c Vinoop b Thampi 1, Arzan Nagwaswalla c Rahul b Warrier 4, Extras (b-2, lb-6, nb-1, w-1) 10.

Total (in 31.3 overs): 81.

Fall of wickets: 1-9, 2-10, 3-11, 4-18, 5-57, 6-59, 7-62, 8-68, 9-69.

Kerala bowling: Sandeep Warrier 13.3-3-30-4, Basil Thampi 12-3-27-5, M.D. Nidheesh 6-1-16-0.

Man-of-the-Match: Basil Thampi.

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