Visakhapatnam: Andhra made light work of a modest target of 130 before cruising to a six-wicket win over Hyderabad in the fourth round league match of the South Zone Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 league tournament at ACA-VDCA Stadium on Friday.
With their second successive defeat, Hyderabad are out of contention while it will be a three-way contest from South Zone between Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Andhra for the two spots for the all India competition to be held in Kolkata.
After a day’s rest on Saturday, the fifth and final round of matches will be held on Sunday.After the controversial win over Hyderabad on Thursday, Karnataka bounced back strongly on Friday as they trounced Tamil Nadu by 78 runs. The highlight of the match at Vizianagaram was a 52-ball 111 (8×4, 8×6) by opener Karun Nair, who set the tone for Karnataka’s huge win.
But it was Andhra who called the shots against an insipid Hyderabad side. On the contrary, Andhra, led by former Hyderabad captain G Hanuma Vihari, gave a clinical display. Opting to bat in the day’s second match at the venue, Hyderabad ran into rough weather as a disciplined Andhra attack made early inroads. Siva Kumar was the pick of the Andhra fast bowlers. He seamed and swung the ball much to trouble the Hyderabad openers Akshath Reddy and Tanmay Agarwal.
Akhshath, who batted brilliantly against Karnakata on Thursday, came a cropper. He lasted only eight deliveries before falling to a deep point catch off the tall M Harishankar Reddy. Hyderabad could not prosper as Vihari led the team shrewdly. Bowling off-spinners, he even removed left-handed Tanmay Agarwal, who top edged and Bandaru Ayyappa took a good running catch at square leg.
Hyderabad’s woes continued as Andhra had a firm control of the match. Thrown into the middle as a pinch-hitter after the fall of Akshath Reddy, Akash Bhandari cut a sorry figure in his 10-ball knock as Ayyappa had him caught him behind. Kolla Sumanth continued his poor show, both in front and behind the stumps. He was out for a nought. Skipper Ambati Rayudu, who held himself back, and B Sandeep tried to lift Hyderabad batting. They took the score to 85 before Rayudu fell for 24. Harishankar Reddy grabbed two more wickets to end with impressive figures of 3 for 30. Hyderabad were restricted to 129 for 9 in 20 overs.
Medium-pacer Mohammad Siraj gave a second-ball wicket for Hyderabad he forced Ashwin Hebber to edge to the wicketkeeper. Skipper Vihari, who survived a close appeal for a leg-side catch, was back in the pavilion two balls later as Ashish Reddy held an athletic return catch. It was 5 for 2. But the young Ricky Bhui (73 not out, 58 balls; 6×4, 3×6) and the experienced and DB Ravi Teja, warded off the early threat with a sensible batting that swung the match in favour of the home side. Bhui was the aggressor of the two as he pulled, cut and drove the Hyderabad bowlers with elan. However, he had an escape when Ashish Reddy made a mess of a sitter at square leg off left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha.
Teja was unfortunate to be out for 46 (43 balls, 3×4, x6) but then Andhra were in driver’s seat. Bhui signalled Andhra’s victory with a six and four off Ravi Kiran. In fact, both Siraj and Kiran were erratic and were punished by Bhui and Teja.