Karnataka recover from early setbacks

Amit, Gautam, Vinay slam half-centuries

After tumbling to 28 for three in just 16.1 overs in the morning session, Karnataka revived their fortunes through two partnerships laced with prudence and determination on the first day of their Ranji Trophy Super League Group ‘B’ match against Uttar Pradesh at the Green Park Stadium.

The 102-run fourth wicket stand between Amit Verma (54, 144m, 119b, 7x4) and Manish Pandey stemmed the rot before CM Gautam (62 (batting), 149m, 105b, 6x4) and Vinay (51, 97m, 94b, 9x4) milked 91 runs for the sixth wicket to take Karnataka to a respectable 274 for seven at close after the visitors batted by choice.

The day began on a familiar note with Karnataka top-order batsmen making a quick return to the hut. Bhuvneshwar Kumar beat the defence of KB Pawan, Robin Uthappa, who appeared to have gone into a terribly defensive mindset, snicked debutant Rohit Chaudhary to sumper Amir Khan and Ganesh Satish shouldered arms to a Rohit delivery that straightened with disastrous consequences as Karnataka innings resembled a cycle running on flat tyres.

But Pandey and Amit came up with the first substantial alliance of the day for Karnataka. Pandey shackled his aggressive instincts while playing a perfect foil for Amit, who looked in supreme touch right from the word go. The Uttar Pradesh attack offered challenges of varied nature. On any other day the movement of Bhuvneshwar and Shalabh Srivastava, skiddy deliveries that debutant Rohit — who came in for Rudra Pratap Singh — generated from a whippy action and the massively spinning leg-breaks of Piyush Chawla could have spelt doom for the batting side.

However, the two Karnataka youngsters played with high concentration and skill level for nearly three hours to thwart the ambitions of UP bowlers to make further inroads. It was heartening to see a batsman like Pandey playing according to the situation. Similarly, Amit too waited for some freebies to open his shoulders and their patience gradually smothered the enthusiasm of UP bowlers.

Just as the alliance went past the 100-run mark and was looking good for a few more, an umpiring error ended the partnership. Pandey missed a sweep shot against Chawla and umpire Rajesh Risodkar endorsed the shout for leg-before much to the chagrin of Karnataka camp as the ball was clearly headed beyond the leg stump.

Verma, who completed a well-crafted fifty, and Stuart Binny went back to pavilion in quick succession as Karnataka seemed to be slipping into another round of trouble at 151 for six. But Vinay and Gautam produced a stubborn alliance to bail the visitors out of a potentially tricky situation. Gautam’s batting has been a revelation this season, seldom allowing the pressure to conquer him while batting with a delightful sense of occasion.

It might be a tad ironic that a rush of blood brought curtains to Vinay’s tenure at the crease. Batting with patience till then, Vinay opted for a pull shot against Chawla and his ill-timed effort ended in the hands of Pravin Gupta. But by then Karnataka had reached a relatively satisfactory position.


KARNATAKA (I Innings): Pawan b Bhuvneshwar 13 (60m, 47b, 3x4); Uthappa c Amin b Rohit 4 (67m, 45b); Ganesh b Rohit 3 (13m, 9b); Pandey lbw Chawla 36 (126m, 71b, 4x4); Amit c Tanmay b Chawla 54 (144m, 119b, 7x4); Binny c Kaif b Chawla 13 (35m, 43b, 2x4); Gautam (batting) 62 (149m, 105b, 6x4); Vinay c Gupta b Chawla 51 (97m, 94b, 9x4); Joshi (batting) 13 (40m, 34b, 2x4); Extras (B-6, LB-4, NB-10, W-5) 25; Total (7 wkts, 90 overs) 274

Fall of wickets: 1-24 (Pawan), 2-26 (Uthappa), 3-28 (Ganesh), 4-130 (Pandey), 5-135 (Binny), 6-151 (Verma), 7-242 (Vinay).

Bowling: Srivastava 18-4-38-0 (w-4), Bhuvneshwar 24-8-51-1 (nb-10, w-1), Chaudhary 10-2-52-2, Chawla 23-4-74-4, Gupta 9-3-18-0, Shukla 5-1-24-0, Kaif 1-0-7-0.

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