Thiruvanthapuram: Kerala defeated Vidarbha by 26 runs in a crucial league match of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy T20 cricket at the St Xavier's College ground in Thumba in Thiruvananthapuram on Thursday.
Put into bat, Kerala tallied 162 for the loss of seven wickets. In reply, Vidarbha mustered only 136 in 20 overs.
Kerala captain Robin Uthappa, who has been struggling to find form, led from the front on Thursday. He top-scored with 69 from 39 balls. His unfinished knock was laced with four hits to the ropes and five above it. He was ably supported by Sachin Baby, who scored a 37-ball 39, which included four boundaries and a sixer. The duo's fourth-wicket stand added 60 to the home side's total. Sanju Samson came a cropper once again, scoring just nine runs.
Vidarbha got off to disastrous start in reply, losing four quick wickets. They were tottering at 31-4, thanks to impressive bowling by quickies Sandeep Warrier and K M Asif.
Vidarbha did try to comeback into the game with the fifth wicket partnership of Rishab Rathod and Akshay Wadkar adding 43 runs. But Wadkar's - who top scored with 29 - run out eventually ended Vidarbha's chase.
The victory became doubly sweet as Kerala avenged last year's loss to Vidarbha. Vidarbha had defeated Kerala in the semifinal of the Ranji Trophy last season.
Brief scores: Kerala 162/7 in 20 overs (Robin Uthappa 69, Sachin Baby 37; Nalkande 3-34) beat Vidarbha: 136/7 in 20 overs (Akshay Wadkar 29, AK Karnewsar 28; Sandeep Warrier 3-29) by 26 runs.