After its undying love and frenzy for football, Kerala has arrived in cricket too. On Tuesday, the state created history by entering the quarterfinals of the Ranji Trophy for the first time.
In their last group match of the season, Kerala defeated hosts Haryana by an innings and eight runs at Chaudhary Bansi Lal Stadium in Lahli, Haryana.
The team led by the new coach-captain combination of Dav Whatmore and Sachin Baby, has worked wonders for the team.
Speaking to the media after the win, Sachin said, "Before the beginning of the season, I told the players we should be aiming to play Irani Trophy (competition between Ranji Trophy winners and a Rest of India team), not for quarterfinals. We have passed the first test. Now it's about continuing in the same vein and hopefully, we can be winnersâ€ť, reports TOI.
Kerala sealed the historic moment with a commanding win, by an innings and eight runs, against Haryana in Rohtak.
This placed them second in Group-B with 31 points, behind reigning champions Gujarat, reports Deccan Chronicle.
Kerala will take on Group-D winners Vidarbha in Surat next month, for a place in the semifinals.
All-rounder Jalaj Saxena, who was retained as a guest player by Kerala, has been the star of their campaign.
The Madhya Pradesh-native leads the wickets chart with 38 scalps from 12 innings, including a match-winning 8 for 85 against Rajasthan in October.
Keralaâ€™s best performance in the Ranji Trophy prior to this, was reaching the pre-quarterfinal in 1994-95 season.
Kerala had progressed as South zone winners under the guidance of KN Ananthapadmanabhan, before being beaten in the pre-quarters by Uttar Pradesh.