Karnataka ride on Uthappa ton

Hosts power past Hyderabad

While century knocks by the captains shaped the course of the match between Karnataka and Hyderabad, the contribution from the support cast made the difference in the final outcome.

Hit man Robin Uthappa slams a six en route to his century on Friday. DH photo/ Srikanta Sharma R

Robin Uthappa, who had failed to kick on after starts in the previous three matches, produced a typically stroke-filled ton (120, 99b, 11x4, 5x6) as Karnataka remained in the hunt for the top slot in the South Zone one-day tournament for the KS Subbaiah Pillai Trophy at the JIRS ground on Friday.

After posting a mammoth 343 for seven, the hosts bowled out Hyderabad for 240, despite skipper DB Ravi Teja’s beautifully paced hundred (110, 116b, 11x4, 2x6).

The comprehensive 103-run win took the home team’s points tally to 13 points, with the final match to go against Andhra at the Chinnaswamy stadium on Sunday. Hyderabad (12), meanwhile, slipped to third place in the race after Friday’s loss shaved a point off their tally.

After a dream debut against Goa when he bagged six wickets, Ronit More was once again the star performer with the ball for Karnataka, returning another five-wicket haul (5/31).

The paceman, in fact, claimed his last three victims in the 44th over to put an early end to Hyderabad’s chase. With Karnataka’s win never in doubt, the only point of interest was if Hyderabad would get to 275, the target needed to deny Karnataka the crucial bonus point.

Having reduced the visitors to 57 for four, Karnataka appeared well on course for five points but Teja and Sandeep B resurrected the innings with a calculated assault. The duo shared 94 (103b) for the fifth wicket to threaten Karnataka’s objective of winning with a bonus point. However, left-arm spinner Abrar Kazi, who replaced KP Appanna, accounted for both Sandeep and Teja in that order to put the hosts right back on track.

After two wickets in his first spell, More returned for his second burst to wipe out the Hyderabad innings with wickets off the first, fifth and sixth deliveries of the 44th over, which turned out to be the final over of the match.

After being asked to bat first, Karnataka got off to a blazing start with openers Uthappa and Mayank Agarwal taking an immediate liking to the Hyderabad attack. While a miscued pull by Agarwal ended the 50-ball 58-run association, Uthappa and Ganesh Satish (90, 103b, 6x4, 1x6) compounded Hyderabad’s misery with a 144-run partnership off 140 balls that paved the way for a massive total.

Without surprise, Uthappa was the dominant partner with a flurry of audacious strokes to, and over, the fence. On a surface where the ball came nicely on to the bat, the right-hander punished an unimaginative visiting bowling attack. Pulling and driving the ball with great aplomb, Uthappa sped to his second 50 in just 29 balls after consuming 53 for his first fifty.

While it’s difficult to match Uthappa’s aggression, Satish wasn’t slow by any stretch of the imagination. The elegant right-hander effortlessly switched gears and that he was reprieved on 57 did little to diminish his effort. Amit Verma once again underlined his value in the middle-order with a 15-ball 27, including five fours in a single over from Ashish Reddy.

The one ball he couldn’t dispatch to the fence struck Stuart Binny’s left little finger, which he had hurt during Kerala’s match. Though Binny came on to bowl six overs, his availability for the last match remains a doubt.

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