Forgotten RCB player and Tendulkar's namesake shines with a fighting century in Ranji Trophy 2024 match
Sachin Baby, Kerala's crisis man, shone brightly in the face of adversity on Saturday as he brought up his 11th First-Class century in the Ranji Trophy 2024 encounter against Assam. This remarkable feat came during the second day of the match at the ACA stadium, where Kerala ended the day in a commanding position.
Baby's counter-attacking 131-run innings was the cornerstone of Kerala's recovery, especially after a sudden middle-order collapse. The team, which at one point was comfortably cruising at 217 for one, found itself in a precarious position at 276 for seven. However, Baby's exceptional performance turned the tide. His partnership with the lower order, particularly the Kerala tail, proved instrumental in reaching a formidable total of 419 all out.
The 35-year-old's partnerships with medium pacer Basil Thampi, who contributed 19 runs, and new ball partner M.D. Nidheesh, who added 12, were pivotal. These collaborations resulted in 66 and 62-run stands for the eighth and ninth wickets, respectively, bolstering Kerala's position in the game.
Kerala's dominance was further asserted by snatching two late wickets, leaving the host Assam reeling at 14 for two at stumps. This late surge by Kerala's bowlers capped off a day that began on a less promising note.
Sachin Baby was once a familiar name at RCB
Baby represented RCB during the 2016 and 2021 season. It was in the 2016-edition that he acquired quite a bit of fame for his attacking batting style in the middle-order. Baby amassed 119 runs in 11 matches in IPL 2016, going at a strike-rate of 150.63. While he didn't get any big score, his intentful batting was impressive. But he faded away slowly as he played only four more matches between 2018 and 2021, without making much impact.
The day's play started with overnight batters Krishna Prasad and Rohan Prem handling the Assam attack confidently. They extended their second-wicket partnership to 84 runs, with Rohan reaching a brisk fifty. However, the scenario changed rapidly. Rohan, on reaching 50, was deceived by Rahul Sharma's delivery, leading to his dismissal just before lunch.
Post-lunch, Kerala's innings faced turbulence with Krishna Prasad (80) falling early in the session. Vishnu Vinod's quick 19 was cut short by a direct hit from Akash Sengupta, leading to his run out. Kerala's woes continued as Akshay Chandran and Jalaj Saxena departed for low scores, and Shreyas Gopal was stumped at 18.
Amidst this collapse, Baby, who had been cautiously accumulating runs, switched gears into an aggressive mode. He confidently farmed the strike and launched an onslaught on Assam's bowlers, hitting boundaries with ease against both pace and spin. His aggressive batting not only steadied Kerala's innings but also took the game away from Assam's control.
Baby's innings not only rescued Kerala from a precarious situation but also placed them in a position of strength. As the match progresses, all eyes will be on how Assam responds to Kerala's formidable total and the pressure exerted by their late wickets.