Bhatkal ton in vain as HCA storm into semis

Visitors set up KSCA XI clash after 69-run win

Chasing Hyderabad’s stiff target of 344 from 97 overs, KSCA, rocked by twin strikes from paceman Kanishk Naidu, fought valiantly through a calculated century from Rajoo (126, 203b, 12x4, 2x6) but eventually folded up at 274 in 85.2 overs on the second day of the two-day contest. Hyderabad will run into another home side, KSCA XI, in the semifinal on Wednesday.

Rajoo’s blemishless century under testing conditions and tail-ender Vinoo Prasad’s doggedness were the only positives in an otherwise forgettable innings.
Hyderabad, overnight 336/8 in 94 overs, ended their innings at 343 all out in 95.2 overs after the match was reduced to 97-overs-a-side.

The Colts got off to nightmarish start as Naidu pegged them back removing opener Nitin Bille and one-drop Kunal Kapoor in no time. Left-arm seamer Abdul Khader too got into the act, winning a leg before decision against skipper Sunil Raju.

Rajoo then joined another opener Santosh Kumar (33) and just when the duo was steering them out of the rut, Naidu struck again, this time to see off the latter. For Colts, teetering at four for 78, it appeared all over when Rajoo joined forces with his younger brother Rahul to revive the innings. The right-handed Bhatkal siblings, without entirely throwing caution out of the window, kept the score board moving while slipping in a boundary or two amidst a plethora of ones and twos.      

Having worked hard to resuscitate the chase with an 83-run association, Rahul (30) fell at the first possible opportunity when the youngster slashed wildly at a widish delivery from Khader to offer a dolly to Khaleel behind the wickets.

If Rahul’s attempt was clumsy, Sadiq Kirmani made it look better with a horrible swipe at Naidu. His father and State selection committee chairman Syed Kirmani, scouting for talent, wasn’t certainly amused by the dismissal; mildly chiding the youngsters for their poor shot selection at the end of the match.

Sadiq and Rajoo were the last recognised batsmen and a lot depended upon the two if Colts were to make fist of the target. But in a rush of adrenalin, Sadiq  went after a wide delivery from Naidu only to nick it behind to Khaleel. BN Bharath and R More fell in quick succession and Colts slipped to 204 for eight. Number 9 Vinoo Prasad was expected to present no more than a token resistance but his determination would have put some of the specialist batsmen in the side to shame.  

The left-hander stood firm and an emboldned Rajoo came out of his shell. The two, with a judicious mix of caution and agression, added 70 runs in 113 balls to raise a buzz in the Colts’ camp. But with the asking rate -- six an over -- too steep, Rajoo fell in an attempt to slam T Suman out of the park and with it went Colts’ hopes of a miracle.

Chipli slams ton

Bharath Chipli struck an unbeaten 101 while Karun Nair remained unconquered on 80 as KSCA President’s XI scored an emphatic 10-wicket victory over Vidarbha Cricket Association at the NRA ground. President’s XI meet Railways in the semifinal.

Brief scores: At IAF: Hyderabad Cricket Association (O/n: 336/8 in 94 overs): 343 all out in 95.2 overs (S Anoop Pai 135, Ibrahim Khaleel 76, Parth Jhala 52, MP Arjun 31; BN Bharath 3-51, Abhishek Jagan 2-44, R More 2-38, Sunil Raju 2-42) bt KSCA Colts: 274 all out in 85.2 overs (Santosh Kumar P 33, Rajoo Bhatkal 126, Rahul Bhatkal 30, Vinoo Prasad 25 n.o.; Arjun 2-45, Kanishk Naidu 4-43, Abdul Khader 2-52, T Suman 2-5).
At NRA: Vidarbha Cricket Association: 186 all out in 73.2 overs lt to KSCA President’s XI: 187/0 in 54 overs (Bharath Chipli 101 n.o., Karun Nair 80 n.o.).
Semifinal line-up (On Aug 11, 12): KSCA XI vs Hyderabad CA at the Chinnaswamy Stadium; KSCA President’s XI vs Railways Sports Promotion Board at NRA.

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