Kerala escaped to a draw in Jaipur on Friday. That became possible largely because of two men – one made 81 not out, and the other two not out. Kerala owe the one point it got from the drawn Ranji Trophy match with Rajasthan to Sachin Baby (139b, 8×4, 1×6) and M.D. Nidheesh (38b).
The visitors had to bat out nearly three sessions or go for a challenging target of 395 at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium. They went for the latter option first, but once the cream of the batting line-up was back in the dressing room, they tried to save the game.
That seemed a tough ask when Kerala was reduced to 269 for eight. But Baby and Nidheesh put too high a price for their wickets as they played out nearly 18 overs.
It truly was an outstanding effort from Baby, who had enacted a similar rescue act in Kerala’s first innings with 133 not out.
Kerala was in with a chance for what would have been a commendable win when Baby and skipper Sanju Samson (69, 53b, 6×4, 3×6) were batting together. They added 89 for the fourth wicket off just 71 balls.
Earlier, Rajasthan resumed its second innings at 278 for five and batted another 10 overs to take the total to 363 for eight before the declaration. Deepak Hooda remained unbeaten on 155 (155b, 10×4, 4×6).
Kerala will play its next four matches at home, in Thiruvananthapuram. It will take on Chhattisgarh from December 27. Rajasthan, which got three points from this match on account of the first-innings lead, will travel to Puducherry for its next game.
Chhattisgarh is leading Group C with 13 points, followed by Karnataka on 10. Kerala is third with seven points and Rajasthan fourth with four points.
Rajasthan 1st Innings: 337
Kerala 1st Innings: 306.
Rajasthan 2nd Innings: Yash Kothari b Jalaj 24, Abhijeet Tomar lbw b Sijomon 68, Mahipal Lomror c Shoun b Jalaj 0, Salman Khan b Jalaj 0, Ashok Menaria c Rahul b Thampi 19, Deepak Hooda (not out) 155, Kunal Rathore c sub (Krishna Prasad) b Sijomon 75, Manav Suthar b Akshay 2, Kamlesh Nagarkoti c Shoun b Akshay 4, Arafat Khan (not out) 0; Extras (b-9, lb-4, w-3) 16; Total (for eight wkts. decl. in 88 overs): 363.
Fall of wickets: 1-47, 2-47, 3-49, 4-94, 5-16, 6-334, 7-344, 8-352.
Kerala bowling: Thampi 6-0-27-1, Jalaj 24-2-93-3, Fanoos 17-2-66-0, Nidheesh 11-2-38-0, Sijomon 18-0-71-2, Akshay 11-0-51-2, Shoun 1-0-4-0.
Kerala 2nd Innings: Rohan Prem b Suthar 0, Jajal Saxena c Salman b Aniket 16, P. Rahul c Rathore b Arafat 64, Shoun Roger c Kamlesh b Aniket 9, Sanju Samson c Menaria b Suthar 69, Sachin Baby (not out) 81, Akshay Chandran c Menaria b Hooda 3, Sijomon Joseph st Rathore b Lomror 28, Basil Thampi lbw b Suthar 12, M.D. Nidheesh (not out) 2; Extras (b-4, lb-2, w-3, nb-6) 15; Total (for eight wkts. in 68 overs): 299.
Fall of wickets: 1-3, 2-23, 3-49, 4-138, 5-182, 6-189, 7-246, 8-269.
Rajasthan bowling: Aniket 13-3-39-2, Suthar 24-2-103-3, Hooda 9-0-49-1, Nagakoti 9-0-39-0, Arafat 3-0-25-1, Lomror 8-0-27-1, Tomar 2-0-11-0