Bengaluru: Kerala squandered a great start and suffered a narrow five-run loss to Jharkhand in a rain-curtailed Vijay Hazare Trophy one-day match here on Wednesday.
Chasing a stiff target of 259 in 36 overs, Kerala openers Vishnu Vinod and Jalaj Saxena went hammer and tongs. The two put on 66 inside six overs before Saxena (25) was trapped in front of the wicket by Rahul Shukla.
Vishnu and Sanju Samson added a further 63 for the second wicket. Sanju scored 48 off 40 balls before being castled by Ankul Roy.
Vishnu and captain Robin Uthappa fell in quick succession to Utkarsh Singh as Jharkhand fought hard. Vishnu made 56 off 44 balls, while Uthappa’s poor run continued as he managed just one.
Kerala were cruising with Sachin Baby (60) and Rahul P (36) at the crease. The two had taken them to 234 in the 31st over, when Utkarsh sent back Sachin.
Kerala lost their last six wickets for a mere 19 runs and Rahul was the last man to go with six needed off the final ball.
Ankul and Utkarsh claimed four wickets apiece.
This was Kerala’s third loss from four matches.
Earlier, Kumar Deobrat top-scored with 54 as Jharkhand ended up with 258/5 after Kerala opted to field.
Saurabh Tiwary made 49 before being retired hurt while captain Ishan Kishan chipped in with 47.
Kerala have just four points from as many games and their hopes of qualifying for the knockout phase have taken a hit.
Kerala next meet Chhattisgarh on Tuesday.
Brief scores: Jharkhand 258/5 in 36 overs (Kumar Deobrat 54, Saurabh Tiwary 49, Ishan Kishan 47; Sandeep Warrier 3/38) bt Kerala 253 all out in 36 overs (Sachin Baby 60, Vishnu Vinod 56, Sanju Samson 48; Ankul Roy 4/31, Utkarsh Singh 4/38).
Points: Jharkhand 4; Kerala 0.