Mushtaq Ali Trophy: Andhra end Kerala's dream run

Ambati Rayudu's cameo took Andhra home. File photo

Mumbai: Andhra ended Kerala's unbeaten run in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy Twenty20 Championship with a six-wicket win here on Sunday.

Andhra rode on Ashwin Hebbar's 48 and Ambati Rayudu's unbeaten 38 to chase down the modest target of 113 in 17.1 overs. This was Andhra's first win in four games in Elite Group E, while Kerala suffered their first loss after three wins on the trot. Kerala had stunned Mumbai and Delhi after getting the better of Pondicherry in their opening game.

Kerala, who were put in to bat, lost wickets up front at the Sharad Pawar Cricket Academy, BKC. This was the first time Kerala were taking first strike in this edition of the competition. It was also the team's first outing at the BKC after enjoying the perfect batting conditions at the Wankhede Stadium in their previous games.

Kerala openers Mohammed Azharuddeen (12) and Robin Uthappa (8) fell cheaply. Captain Sanju Samson (7) and Vishnu Vinod (4) too struggled to get going as Kerala slipped to 38/4 in the 10th over.

An unbeaten 51 off 34 balls by Sachin Baby and his unbroken 74-run stand with Jalaj Saxena took Kerala to 112/4. Sachin hit one four and four sixes, while Saxena chipped in with an unbeaten 27 off 34 balls.

Though Andhra lost three early wickets to slump to 43/3 in the seventh over, Hebbar and Rayudu put the innings back on track. The two added 48 for the fourth wicket. Hebbar hit six fours and a six from 46 balls, while Rayudu smashed four fours and a six in his 27-ball knock.

Offie Saxena was again the pick of the Kerala bowlers with figures of 2/9 from his four overs.

Kerala meet Haryana in their final group game on Tuesday.

Brief scores: Kerala 112/4 in 20 overs (Sachin Baby 51 not out; Manish Golamaru 2/19) lost to Andhra 113/4 in 17.1 overs (Ashwin Hebbar 48, Ambati Rayudu 38 not out; Jalaj Saxena 2/9).

Points: Andhra 4; Kerala 0.

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