Kerala’s campaign in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy T20 tournament came to a heart-breaking end at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on Tuesday.
A win would have taken the team to the knockout stage, but it went down to Haryana by four runs, chasing 199, in the deciding match in Group E.
The victory took Haryana to the top of the pool, as it advanced with an all-win record. For Kerala, it was the second defeat in a row after winning its first three matches.
The loss would have been particularly disappointing for Sachin Baby, who nearly took the team home with a brilliant knock of 68 off 36 balls (3×4, 6×6). Kerala needed 12 off the final over bowled by seamer Arun Chaprana, who had Salman Nizar superbly caught at deep-midwicket off the third ball.
The batsmen had crossed, but Baby was run out by a splendid direct hit from the point boundary by Shivam Chouhan. That left Kerala requiring 10 off the last two balls, but Jalaj Saxena could manage only five.
If not for Baby’s valiant effort, Kerala’s challenge would have ended sooner. The dismissals of two well-set batsmen, Sanju Samson (51, 31b, 5×4, 3×6) and Mohammed Azharuddeen (35, 25b, 2×4, 2×6) in the 1lth over had brought Haryana back into the match.
Kerala’s chances depended mainly on Baby. He put on 37 for the fourth wicket with Vishnu Vinod (10) and 49 for the fifth Salman Nizar (five).
Earlier, fine knocks from opener Chaitanya Bishnoi (45, 29b, 6×4, 1×6), Shivam (59, 34b, 6×4, 2×4), Rahul Tewatia (41 not out, 26b, 4×4, 2×6) and Sumit (21 not out, 10b, 3×4, 1×6) took Haryana to a challenging total after being put into bat.
Jalaj and Baby took two wickets each with their off-spin.