Cricket Ranji Trophy: Hosts claim three points as visitors settle for one in opener
For the first time in three seasons, Karnataka’s Ranji Trophy campaign has begun on a wrong note.
The convincing winners over Uttar Pradesh two years ago at Meerut and a dominant side in their drawn encounter against Rajasthan the previous time at Udaipur, the former champions were forced to finish second best against Baroda in their Group ‘B’ opener which concluded here at the Moti Bagh ground on Monday.
Tipped to have the better of exchanges, Karnataka frittered away their upper hand at various stages of the match to settle for a dreary draw and one point. The hosts, overnight 115/4 and overall 237 runs ahead going into final day’s play, appeared content with the 122-run first innings lead. Having secured three points, Baroda made no effort to push for victory and prolonged their second innings almost up to tea to frustrate the visiting attack.
By the time Karnataka bowled the hosts out for 249, the result was a foregone conclusion. With an improbable 372-run target to be achieved in a minimum of 32 overs, Karnataka finished at 102 for the loss of Robin Uthappa (43, 61b, 6x4, 1x6) after refusing an offer to call off the proceedings.
While there was no way Karnataka could have altered the course of the match, their top three batsmen got to spend some quality time in the middle on a fourth-day track that should hold them in good stead in their next tie against Tamil Nadu in Chennai where the pitch isn’t expected to hold firm. Opener KB Pawan (39 n.o., 102b, 6x4) had another fruitful outing while Ganesh Satish looked assured during his 46-minute unbeaten stint.
Beginning the day with loads of determination and prayers on their lips, Karnataka appeared to have found a way to turn things around when they dismissed overnight batsmen Abhimanyu Chauhan (52, 116b, 9x4) and Irfan Pathan (38, 56b, 6x4) in quick succession, Stuart Binny and A Mithun respectively sharing the scalps. At 124 for six, Baroda were 246 runs ahead and Karnataka had every reason to nurse their chances at this stage. However, Pinal Shah (22, 65b, 3x4), Ketan Panchal (58, 142b, 4x4, 1x6) and Gagandeep Singh (24, 70b, 3x4) thwarted Karnataka’s efforts with dogged partnerships.
Shah and Panchal added 59 runs between them for the seventh wicket while 48 runs were produced for the eighth wicket between Panchal and Gagandeep. More crucially, though, the trio managed to stay in the middle for close to three hours to effectively ruin Karnataka’s faint chances.
With a big 302-run lead at the end of the first session, Baroda could have gone for a possible victory and six points by declaring their innings but instead they chose to play it safe much against the spirit of the changes to Ranji format from this season. Their decision to bat on may have been partly influenced by a sore knee to their spearhead Irfan Pathan, who didn’t bowl in the second innings, but almost an entire final day’s play bordered on the ennui.
Karnataka have no one but themselves to blame for the outcome of the match. Be it dropped catches proving costly or batsmen selling their wickets cheaply, the visitors didn’t put their best foot forward. On the brighter side though, it’s just the beginning of a long season and the wake-up call may have come at the right time.
BARODA (I Innings): 406 all out in 123.4 overs.
KARNATAKA (I Innings): 284 all out in 109 overs.
BARODA (II Innings, O/n 115/4): Kedar Devdhar lbw Vinay 0 (1m, 1b), Aditya Waghmode c Pandey b Mithun 0 (9m, 3b), Abhimanyu Chauhan c Pandey b Binny 52 (164m, 116b, 9x4), Ambati Rayudu c Gautam b Binny 21 (71m, 38b, 5x4), Yusuf Pathan lbw Pandey 0 (6m, 2b), Irfan Pathan b Mithun 38 (86m, 56b, 6x4), Pinal Shah b Appanna 22 (111m, 65b, 3x4), Ketan Panchal c Gautam b Raju 58 (198m, 142b, 4x4, 1x6), Gagandeep Singh lbw Verma 24 (82m, 70b, 3x4), Bhargav Bhatt c Uthappa b Verma 4 (18m, 12b, 1x4), Firdaus Bhaja (not out) 0 (2m, 3b). Extras (B-23, LB-4, NB-3) 30. Total (all out, 84.1 overs) 249.
Fall of wickets: 1-0 (Devdhar), 2-9 (Waghmode), 3-64 (Rayudu), 4-65 (Yusuf), 5-124 (Chauhan), 6-124 (Irfan), 7-172 (Shah), 8-237 (Gagandeep), 9-249 (Panchal).
Bowling: Vinay Kumar 10-3-31-1 (nb-1), A Mithun 17-6-47-2, Stuart Binny 13-6-29-2, K P Appanna 20-2-64-1, Manish Pandey 6-2-18-1 (nb-1), Amit Verma 5.1-1-20-2, Sunil Raju 13-6-13-1 (nb-1).
KARNATAKA (II Innings): K B Pawan (not out) 39 (134m, 102b, 6x4), Robin Uthappa c Devdhar b Yusuf 43 (87m, 61b, 6x4, 1x6), Ganesh Satish (not out) 14 (46m, 29b, 3x4). Extras (B-6) 6. Total (for 1 wkt, 32 overs) 102.
Fall of wicket: 1-75 (Uthappa).
Bowling: Gagandeep Singh 6-3-10-0, Firdaus Bhaja 9-0-42-0, Bhargav Bhatt 10-3-29-0, Yusuf Pathan 7-2-15-1.