On the eve of its last group league fixture against Jharkhand, Hyderabad coach Milap Mewada had one on one sessions with his batters.
During those long conversations, Mewada explained the need to hang in there and aim for big runs ahead of the must-win Vijay Hazare Trophy outing. However, those talks had little impact on the side as yet another batting debacle saw Hyderabad going down to Jharkhand by 36 runs and crash out of the tournament.
After a six-wicket haul by Chama Milind restricted Jharkhand to 276 at the Sector 16 Stadium, Hyderabad was bundled out for 240.
Chasing a tricky total, the top batters struggled, even though captain Tanmay Agarwal dished out a gritty 59 before being trapped leg before by Anukul Roy.
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What hurt Hyderabad the most was the fact that none of its middle-order batters could counter-attack Varun Aaron (3-50) and Shahbaz Nadeem (3-32) and stitch a long partnership. Buddhi Rahul (45), Sumanth Kolla and Milind played cameos, but those were not enough.
With Saurashtra already through as the table-topper of Group C, three teams – Hyderabad, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh – were vying for the second slot. And as both Hyderabad and Delhi suffered defeats, Uttar Pradesh beat Haryana by 78 runs to make it to the knockout stage.
Earlier, Hyderabad won the toss and opted to field – a decision that did not benefit the side as the bowlers failed to make an impact early. Making the most of it, the seasoned Ishank Jaggi (44, 62b) and Mohammad Nazim (32, 26b) forged a 58-run opening stand.
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While Jaggi rotated the strike, Nazim hit six boundaries off Milind and Ravi Teja to put the pressure back on Hyderabad. Nazim would have added to Hyderabad’s woes had he not been caught behind by Sumanth Kolla off Milind.
While Jharkhand did lose a couple of quick wickets, it rebuilt with a 93-run partnership between Virat Singh (65, 59b) and Saurabh Tiwary (42, 67b). The two seasoned hands ensured that they counter-attacked the Hyderabad spinners and that strategy helped them regain momentum.
Virat hit six boundaries and a couple of sixes as Hyderabad bowlers lost steam. Though Milind’s late strikes did destroy the Jharkhand tail, poor fielding and a couple of dropped catches hurt Hyderabad.