Kerala beat Delhi by 14 runs in their opening game of the BCCI T20 Super League in Mumbai. The Kerala openers set up the game in their team’s favour with an 89-run opening stand. Their bowlers then struck at regular intervals to keep the Delhi batsmen in check and held them to 136 for nine to bowl their side to victory.
Earlier, asked to bat first at Wankhede stadium, the Kerala openers got off to a flying start. VA Jagdeesh and Rakesh KJ struck the bowlers all over the ground to lay the foundation for a competitive score. Scoring at over eight runs per over, the pair was cruising along until Yogesh Nagar removed both batsmen off successive deliveries in the 12th over. V A Jadgeesh, who had reached his 50 in the previous over, was the first to depart for 52, while his opening partner was bowled shortly afterwards.
With the team on 89 for two, Kerala had two new batsmen – Sanju Vishwanadh and Rohan Prem – at the crease. And then, Rohan Prem departed off the first ball of the next over. The loss of quick wickets affected the run-rate a little. But Sanju and Sachin Baby worked to stem the fall of wickets and keep the scoreboard ticking. Kerala then reached the three-figure mark in 13.5.
Sachin Baby reverse swept Nagar for four in the bowler’s last over to take Kerala to 121 for three at the end of 16 overs. However, departed after adding 18 runs to the total. Jafar Jamal was the next to return to the dugout. Sachin Baby, who had earlier slammed Sumit Narwal for a six, followed Jafar into the dressing room later in the same over. With the team on 138 for six in the penultimate over, Anfal PM joined P Prasanth in the middle. The pair added nine runs in the last over to take their team to a respectable 150 at the end of the innings.
While chasing the target, Delhi lost their first wicket with 16 runs on the board. Mohit Sharma was caught by the wicketkeeper and was replaced by Kshitiz Sharma in the middle. 10 runs later, Aditya Kaushik was castled by P Prasanth bringing Jagrit Anand to the crease. The batsman then opened his account with a boundary through the leg side off the last ball of the over.
In his next over P Prasanth clipped Kshitiz’s bails to leave Delhi on 35 for three. Striving to take the innings forward Nagar joined Anand in the middle and the duo took the team to 52 for three at the end of ten overs. The batsmen took a few risks while they looked to increase the run rate.
With the pressure increasing, Nagar looking to up the run-rate, holed out to deep mid-wicket off Jagdeesh. In the next over, Anand struck Rakesh for six and was caught at long-on by Sachin Baby off the next ball while looking for another big hit.
While the Kerala bowlers kept the opposition batsmen in check, the fielders also put a good effort in the field. With five wickets down, Bisht came out to the middle and returned after adding just five to leave Delhi on 89 for six. Pratuyush Singh then joined Narwal in the middle. Narwal, who then hit Rakesh for a six and a boundary, was castled by the bowler. Rakesh claimed two wickets while conceding 13 runs off his last over.
With 46 required from the last three overs, Varun Sood clobbered Prasanth for two sixes on the leg side to collect 17 runs off the over. With the match precariously poised, Pratuyush’s edge went past the ‘keeper to the fence. The pair took their chances as they looked glean runs off the Kerala bowlers.Then, Vinod Kumar dislodged Pratuyush’s bails off the last ball of the penultimate over to leave Delhi on 129 for eight.
With 22 required off the last over, Thampy was handed the ball by his skipper. And soon, Sood perished for 22 (off 13 balls) with three deliveries left in the innings. With Kerala firmly in the driver’s seat, Javed then joined Vikas Tokas in the middle. But it was too little too late for Delhi as Kerala pulled off a 14-run win.