Ranji Trophy: Vaisakh Chandran, Jalaj Saxena bowl Kerala to victory

Vaisakh Chandran
Vaisakh Chandran picked up a five-wicket haul on his debut. Photo: Special Arrangement

Ranchi: Debutant Vaisakh Chandran and veteran offie Jalaj Saxena were the heroes as Kerala scored a thrilling 85-run win over Jharkhand in their Ranji Trophy Elite Group C opener here on Friday.

Wicketkeeper-batter Kumar Kushagra threatened to thwart Kerala's victory bid with a fighting 92. Kushagra and Manishi (23) added 119 off 28.4 overs for the eighth wicket.

Basil Thampi broke the stand by trapping Manishi in front of the wicket.

Saxena dismissed Kushagra and claimed the final wicket to secure a memorable win for Kerala.

Resuming the fourth and final day on 60/1, Kerala went for quick runs and declared their second innings on 187/7 in 36 overs. The visitors added 127 runs in 21 overs for the loss of six wickets.

Opener Rohan Prem top-scored with an 86-ball 74. The left-hander hit four fours and two sixes.

Debutant Shoun Roger scored 29, while Saxena made a run-a-ball 23.

Chasing a victory target of 323, Jharkhand opened with Ishan Kishan and Mohamed Nazim. Offie Vaisakh gave Kerala the first breakthrough by snaring Kishan for 22. Kumar Suraj too fell in the same over for a duck.

Vaisakh struck again soon by cleaning up Nazim for 17 to leave the home side reeling at 42/3.

Captain Virat Singh and Saurabh Tiwary put on 60 runs for the fourth wicket. However, Vaisakh forced the left-handed Tiwary to nick one to Sanju Samson behind the stumps for 37.

Jalaj Saxena
Jalaj Saxena won the man-of-the-match award. Photo: Special Arrangement

Saxena sent back Virat for 32 as Jharkhand slumped to 102/5. 

Vaisakh completed his fifth-wicket haul by castling Utkarsh Singh for a duck. Saxena accounted for Shahbaz Nadeem for a blob as Jharkhand collapsed to 112/7 before Kushagra took centrestage.

But the Kerala bowlers made sure they finished off the innings just in the nick of time.

Saxena won the man-of-the-match award for his match haul of 9/131.

Kerala players pose for a selfie after the win. Photo: Special Arrangement

Kerala next play Rajasthan in Jaipur on Tuesday (December 20).

Brief scores: Kerala 475 & 187/7 declared in 36 overs (Rohan Prem 74; Shahbaz Nadeem 5/79) bt Jharkhand 340 & 237 in 61.2 overs (Kumar Kushagra 92; Vaisakh Chandran 5/57, Jalaj Saxena 4/56).

Points: Kerala 6, Jharkhand 0. 

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