| Pritam Das, who took three wickets |
Visakhapatnam: Assam’s awesome run continues… After slaying mighty Mumbai in the quarter finals, Assam blew away the challenge of Kerala in the semis to march into the final of the Vijay Hazare Trophy. They will meet Delhi in the summit clash, on Sunday.
Assam, once again, put up a clinical performance to outclass the opponents. They rode on Gokul Sharma’s all-round display to continue its fairytale campaign as they won by five wickets, on Saturday.
After his three-wicket haul with the ball, Gokul (51) scored an unbeaten half-century to guide Assam to the historic win, at the YS Rajasekhara Reddy ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium. This is Assam’s maiden entry into the final of the Vijay Hazare Trophy, the domestic 50-ver tournament.
Opting to ball, Assam first dismissed Kerala for 197 in 48.5 overs and then overwhelmed the target with five wickets in hand and 24 balls to spare.
Off-spinner Gokul (3/30) and fast bowler Pritam Das (3/38) picked up three wickets apiece, while Arup Das (2/32) accounted for two top-order batsmen to help Assam bundle out Kerala under the 200-run mark after captain Abu Nechim Ahmed elected to bowl.
Only three Kerala batsmen managed double digit scores with opener VA Jagadeesh top-scoring with a fighting 89 off 109 balls. Besides Jagadeesh, Raiphi Gomez (51) and Rohan Prem (34) were the other contributors with the bat for Kerala.
Kerala lost their first wicket early when Arup Das accounted for opener K Rakesh in the sixth over. But Kerala managed to recover from that jolt as Jagadeesh and Rohan batted sensibly. But as has been the case with Assam in this edition of the tournament, they come up with the right thing at the right time to steal the opponents’ adavatnge.
When Rohan was dismissed, by Gokul, Kerala were on 98 — a score good enough for the middle order to put up a good total on the board. But the Assam bowlers, who have been just brilliant this season, made the most of the situation. Under pressure, the Kerala batsmen failed to offer adequate resistance and wickets began to tumble. From 98 for two, they were soon 106 for five.