Hyderabad: Rohit Rayudu (130 off 130 balls; 11×4, 3×6) is growing in stature and on Monday, the left-handed opener struck his second century in Hyderabad’s comprehensive 149-run win over Jammu & Kashmir in the penultimate round of Group D of the Vijay Hazare one-day tournament at Uppal Stadium on Monday.
With one more league match to go, the finish for the top two positions in this group is heading for a tight finish. At the end of the five rounds, Vidarbha, Hyderabad and Chhattisgarh are at the top of the table with 16 points each from four wins and one loss. Saurashtra have also an outside chance as they have 12 points from five matches and they play Vidarbha in the last league match at Uppal Stadium on Wednesday. Hyderabad face Chhattisgarh at Gymkhana.
The winners of these two matches automatically qualify for the all India tournament that will be held at New Delhi.
But for one bad day against Vidarbha, the J Arunkumar-coached Hyderabad team has been having a smooth ride in the tournament so far. The pleasing aspect is the emergence of young players who have played a big part in the team’s commanding show in the tournament. Yet again Rohit Rayudu, cousin of Ambati Rayudu, showed his hunger for runs. His temperament and character were also tested in the morning as Hyderabad ran into troubled waters but he came out with flying colours.
Electing to bat, Hyderabad were in a spot at 41 for 3 in 11 overs. Fast bowler Umar Nazir (5 for 52) rocked the top order by removing opener Akshath Reddy (18), T Ravi Teja and Mehdi Hasan. Moving the ball to a nicety and bowling on and around the off stump, Nazir had Akshath, who fished at an outgoing delivery, and Teja in his fifth over and in his next over dismissed Hasan.
The 23-year-old Rohit, who scored 126 against Jharkhand in the second match, weathered off the early storm with confident batting. Joined by B Sandeep (74; 74 balls, 3×4), Rohit built his innings. He survived a scare when he was dropped at covers. The seasoned Sandeep dug in unlike the previous innings against Saurashtra when he threw away his wicket. The senior left-hander was more organised and more disciplined. Coach Arunkumar said it was a matured knock by Rohit. “The young batsman is evolving as a good one-day player. He was determined and focused. I liked the way he accumulated his runs along with Sandeep,” said Arunkumar.
Rohit’s first 50 came off 73 balls and then accelerated as he got his second 50 off 37 balls.
There were three sixes on his way to his century. The fourth wicket pair added 171 runs off 152 balls before Sandeep was bowled by Rohit Sharma.
Hyderabad suddenly slipped as Nazir, who returned for his second spell, sent back Ambati Rayudu and Kolla Sumanth, both caught behind. J&K seemed to bounce back in the match as Rohit left at 269. But some late flourish by Akash Bhandari and Saaketh Sairam (23) ensured that Hyderabad crossed the 300-mark.
Big-hitter Ahmad Omar Banday struck five boundaries off Mohammad Siraj in his first two overs. Skipper Rayudu introduced left-arm spinner Mehdi Hasan in the seventh over. In his second over, Hasan bowled Banday, who played across. J&K’s challenge fizzled out as the disciplined Hyderabad bowlers had the match in control. Coming for his second spell, Siraj had Fazil Rashid’s middle stump cart-wheeling. Off-spinner Sairam, who impressed again, had skipper Parvez Rasool caught at square leg while Bhandari finished with three wickets.