Cricket Ranji Trophy: Hosts suffer crushing loss to Odisha
India skipper MS Dhoni’s plea to the curators at Ahmedabad to prepare a spin-friendly wicket for the second Test backfired as the visitors crushed the hosts by ten wickets on Monday.
A very similar story unfolded at the M Chinnaswamy stadium a day after as Karnataka’s strategy to roll out a seaming track returned to haunt them in a Group ‘B’ Ranji Trophy encounter on Tuesday.
With 202 runs required for an outright win after they had knocked off 43 runs from Odisha’s total of 245 on Monday, Karnataka’s established batsmen were expected show a steady hand and carry the team through to their first win this season.
Instead, Odisha’s disciplined pace battery exploited a lively pitch to help the side to a stunning 65-run win over a team they could not beat on four other occasions, starting from 1984 in Bangalore.
This win gave Odisha six points to add to the seven points they had managed from three other games and pushed them to the top of the table, while Karnataka remained stagnant at seventh with five points from four games.
Earlier in the day, Robin Uthappa, overnight 25, started the day looking a pale shadow of his fiery past. Defending pretty much every ball, even those that deserved to be put away, Uthappa did not exude the positivity that was required at that time.
Ganesh Satish (19), meanwhile, showed the right kind of mind-set before he was undone
by a questionable leg-before decision from umpire Umesh Dubey. In the eighth over of the day, an incoming delivery from Basanta Mohanty caught Ganesh in front of the stumps, but the batsman had got a faint inside edge before the ball struck his pads.
With Ganesh back in the hut, it was down to Uthappa and new man Manish Pandey to bail the team out. Contrary to what was expected, Uthappa went even deeper into his shell and Pandey looked a far cry from his former self.
Pandey scored six runs without any certainty before Mohanty claimed his wicket, trapping him plumb in front.
With Karnataka at a precarious three for 83, Uthappa (45 runs, 168 minutes, 105 balls, 6x4) finally looked to improve his scoring rate, and that resulted in a disaster that changed the face of the game.
The right-hander chopped a wide ball from Deepak Behera (2/38) with no power or authority straight to Govinda Poddar at wide gully only two runs after the loss of Pandey.
Saving the blushes
Amit Verma, who walked in and witnessed the fall of Uthappa, was joined by Stuart Binny. Both the batsmen started from naught but sought comfort in the common idea of saving Karnataka the blushes.
Playing with a solid head despite being beaten on numerous occasions by Odisha’s persistent bowlers, Binny (42, 133m, 101b, 3x4) and Verma (27, 99m, 64b, 4x4) battled it out in the middle and carried Karnataka to a position of relative safety at 142.
However, after adding 57 runs from 132 balls for the fifth wicket, Verma was blindsided by a delivery from Deepak Behera that rolled along the pitch and undid his off-stump.
Verma out of the picture, Odisha went all out to get rid of Karnataka’s last recognised batting pair of Binny and CM Gautam, and they succeeded after conceding a mere 19 runs since the fall of the previous wicket. A late out-swinger from Biplab Samantray caught Binny’s edge and carried to ’keeper Subrajith Sahu.
Samantray, who was named the man of the match, followed that delivery with one that caught skipper R Vinay Kumar right in front of the stumps to push for a hat-trick.
Samantray failed to get a hat-trick but with Karnataka’s end in sight, Odisha were in no mood to let off that easy.
They continued to hound Karnataka, and finally -- when Alok Sahoo (3/27) uprooted Gautam’s off-stump -- it was time for Odisha’s aggressive unit to party hard and the hosts to think about what went wrong.
ODISHA (I Innings): 202 all out.
KARNATAKA (I Innings): 213 all out.
ODISHA (II Innings): 255 all out.
KARNATAKA (II Innings, O/n: 43/1): KB Pawan c Sahu b Mangaraj 12 (46m, 36b, 1x4),
Robin Uthappa c Poddar b Deepak 45 (168m, 105b, 6x4), Ganesh Satish lbw Mohanty 19 (76m, 50b, 2x4), Manish Pandey lbw Mohanty 6 (38m, 17b, 1x4), Amit Verma b Deepak 27 (99m, 64b, 4x4), Stuart Binny c Sahu b Samantray 42 (133m, 101b, 3x4), C M Gautam b Sahoo 18 (79m, 39b, 3x4), R Vinay Kumar lbw Samantray 0 (1m, 1b), S L Akshay c Samantray b Sahu 1 (16m, 15b), K P Appanna c Samal b Sahu 0 (10m, 3b), H S Sharath (not out) 0 (9m, 4b). Extras (B-6, LB-2, W-1) 9. Total (all out, 72.3 overs) 179
Fall of wickets: 1-27 (Pawan), 2-58 (Ganesh), 3-83 (Pandey), 4-85 (Uthappa), 5-142 (Verma), 6-161 (Binny), 7-161 (Vinay), 8-170 (Akshay), 9-174 (Samal).
Bowling: Basanta Mohanty 22-8-31-2 (w-1), Alok Mangaraj 14-4-44-1, Biplab Samantray 16-4-28-2, Deepak Behera 12-3-38-2, Lagnajith Samal 1-0-3-0, Alok Sahoo 7.3-1-27-3.