November 25, 2000

Kerala hands ten wicket hiding to Karnataka

Kerala beat Karnataka comfortably by ten wickets in their Ranji Trophy South Zone clash at the Nehru Stadium in Kochi to complete only a second victory against their northern neighbours in 46 encounters in the competition. Set a princely target of five runs in the fourth innings, Kerala's win came in slightly bizarre fashion. Vijay Bharadwaj bowled a no-ball, which went for four byes, to finish with the unusual figures of 0.0-0-1-0.

Earlier Karnataka, resuming at 31/4, folded up for 133. Overnight batsmen, Bharadwaj (32) and AR Mahesh (31) waged a grim battle in the first session but both were out in successive overs at the stroke of lunch to leave the visitors at 93/6. Little resistance was offered by the tail with the exception of Dodda Ganesh who hung around for an hour and a quarter to produce 22. The curtain came down when skipper Venkatesh Prasad knocked off spinner Ramprakash into Tinu Yohannan at cover, Karnataka labouring for 79.2 overs to make 133. Left arm spinner Sreekumar Nair and leg spinner M Suresh Kumar finished with three wickets apiece.

Kerala's only other victory over Karnataka - by six wickets - came at the Government Victoria College Ground, Palakkad on 28-31 December 1996. CricInfo's zealous scorer, Sudhir Aly also informs us that umpire Sanjeeva Rao officiated in both Kerala triumphs. The result queers the pitch in the zonal standings, lifting Kerala to 18 points from four games, ahead of Karnataka's 16.