Vishnu and Sijomon fashion Kerala’s sensational win

Their record unbroken 174-run partnership helps the team stun Maharashtra

At 120 for six, it looked curtains for Kerala. Vishnu Vinod and Sijomon Joseph, however, refused to give in.

They came up with an astonishing record seventh-wicket stand to take Kerala to a remarkable four-wicket victory in a Vijay Hazare Trophy one-day match against Maharashtra at Rajkot on Saturday. Vishnu remained not out on 100 (82b, 8×4, 2×6) and Sijomon on 71 (70b, 2×4, 6×4).

Their unbroken partnership was worth 174 when Kerala overhauled Maharashtra’s 291 for eight with seven balls to spare. After the defeat to Madhya Pradesh in the last match, this was a win Sanju Samson’s men badly needed.

That had looked distant when Kerala slid to 35 for four. A fifth-wicket stand of 72 between Samson (42, 35b, 4×4, 2×6) and Jalaj Saxena (44, 54b, 3×4, 2×6) steadied the ship a bit, but their dismissals gave Maharashtra the upper hand once again.

Little could Maharashtra then have imagined it would not get another wicket in the match, as Vishnu and Sijomon staged a magnificent fightback for Kerala. Their stunning show overshadowed Ruturaj Gaikwad’s third hundred on the trot (124, 129b, 9×4, 3×6). The CSK opener had scored 136 against Madhya Pradesh and 154 not out against Chhattisgargh to set up wins for his side.

Apart from Ruturaj, only one Maharashtra batter got going in this match – Rahul Tripathi, who made 99 (108b, 11×4). They came together at 22 for two, as the Kerala pacers Basil Thampi and M.D. Nidheesh justified the team management’s decision to field first.

But Kerala had to wait for more than 34 overs for another wicket, as Ruturaj and Tripathi added 195. The breakthrough was provided by Nidheesh, who followed the wicket of Tripathi up with three more to finish with figures of five for 49 from 10 overs. What he began was finished off in style by Vishnu and Sijomon.

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