'Never felt such huge pressure'
The Karnataka stumper, battling body pain due to multiple injuries, kept the Uttar Pradesh attack at bay to steer his team to a face-saving draw here on Tuesday. Gautam (26 n.o.) and Appanna kept their cool in a tense situation to negotiate the last 10.1 overs and deny the hosts an outright win as Karnataka finished the final day at 274/8 in pursuit of 446.
“Honestly, I have never been in such a situation before,” said a relieved Gautam later. “I didn’t feel this pressure even when I was batting against Tamil Nadu. I don’t know if I thought we will save the match but I took it as a challenge. I needed someone to stay with me and I knew Appanna was quite capable of that. My plan was to take most of the strike against Bhuvaneshwar (Kumar) because the rest we were handling without much problem. Happy that we just about managed to get the job done,” he remarked.
Man-of-the-match Bhuvneshwar said it was a mixed feeling for him. The right-arm paceman took nine wickets in the match and struck 91 runs in the second innings to help UP dominate the match. “I’m happy with the way we performed throughout the match against a strong team like Karnataka. But I’m a bit disappointed as well because we couldn’t win the match which we came so close to doing.”