Gritty Gautam saves Karnataka

Pandey slams half-century in drawn tie

CM Gautam’s counter-attacking century, along with Ganesh Satish’s epic double century, had powered Karnataka to first innings against Tamil Nadu in a marathon chase in their last encounter in Chennai. On Tuesday, he donned a different role, scoring an unbeaten 26 in close to two hours to help his team escape with an honourable draw against Uttar Pradesh.

When Karnataka’s first innings folded up for 181, Gautam was left stranded at one end on an undefeated on 24. A similar scenario appeared to play itself out again on the final day of their Group B match at the Victoria Park but KP Appanna (4, 46m, 26b, 1x4) stood firm this time to assist Karnataka finish their second innings at 274 for eight after UP had declared their second innings closed at their overnight score of 343 for five.

Having taken a 102-run first innings lead, UP pocketed three points to increase their tally to 10 from three matches. Karnataka are on five points after three games.

While the target of 446 runs was seemingly out of reach, needless run outs of Manish Pandey (76, 98b, 8x4, 3x6) and Amit Verma (33, 82b, 5x4) and a cracking pitch only pushed them to the brink of defeat. When Bhuvneshwar Kumar fired out K Gowtham and Ronit More in the first over after taking the new ball, Karnataka still needed to bat a minimum of nine overs with only Appanna and debutant HS Sharath to come. In the most interesting stretch of the game, Gautam (117m, 109b, 5x4) found a gritty ally in Appanna to deny hosts the victory. The right-hander farmed the strike well taking most of deliveries from man of the match Bhuvneshwar who was easily the most difficult bowler to deal with.

No praise can be too high for Gautam, who was battling multiple injuries to go with the immense of pressure of saving the match. His right knee was still wrapped heavily to prevent further damage which he had suffered prior to Baroda match. He is still apprehensive about his right shoulder that he got dislocated while celebrating his century against Tamil Nadu. And when he went in to bat on Tuesday with the defeat hanging like Damocles’ sword, he had fever and was suffering from frequent bouts of headache as a result of the hit he had sustained on his upper lip while ’keeping on the second day. It was a battle of attrition but the one he couldn’t have succeeded in without the resilience of Appanna.

The day began on a disappointing note for Karnataka as they lost their openers Robin Uthappa and KB Pawan early in the innings. The in-from Ganesh Satish (70, 111b, 11x4) and Pandey forged an entertaining partnership to deny any further success for UP in the opening session. The right-handed combination treated an appreciative crowd to some delightful display of batting against both spin and pace. Pandey took a special liking to Piyush Chawla, slamming the leg-spinner for three sixes.

The duo, which added 122 runs for the third wicket, was separated soon after the lunch break when Pandey ran himself out going for a non-existing t single. Less than eight overs later, a well-set Ganesh poked one to third slip, while early in the final session Verma was run out, exposing the tail. Bhuvneshwar, who picked up 4/67 to go with his first-innings haul of 5/36, then appeared to run through Karnataka’s lower order before Gautam and Appanna put up a defiant show.

UP may have left to rue their decision to not to declare on the penultimate day that would have given their bowlers a few extra overs to bowl the opposition out. Karnataka, though, weren’t complaining.

Score board

UTTAR PRADESH (I Innings): 283 all out in 98.1 overs.
KARNATAKA (I Innings): 181 all out in 54.4 overs.

UTTAR PRADESH (II Innings; O/n: 343/5): 343/5 declared in 112 overs.
KARNATAKA (II Innings): KB Pawan c Amir b Rajput 11 (37m, 26b, 2x4), Robin Uthappa b Bhuvneshwar 17 (24m, 21b, 4x4), Ganesh Satish c Raina b Bhuvneshwar 70 (168m, 111b, 11x4), Manish Pandey (run out) 76 (124m, 98b, 8x4, 3x6), Amir Verma (run out) 33 (115m, 82b, 5x4), Stuart Binny b Rajput 10 (51m, 39b, 1x4), CM Gautam (not out) 26 (117m, 109b, 5x4), K Gowtham b Bhuvneshwar 10 (42m, 32b, 2x4), Ronit More b Bhuvneshwar 0 (2m, 3b), KP Appanna (not out) 4 (46m, 26b, 1x4). Extras (B-4, LB-10, NB-1, W-2) 17. Total (for 8 wkts, 91 overs) 274.

Fall of wickets: 1-23 (Uthappa), 2-33 (Pawan), 3-155 (Pandey), 4-188 (Ganesh), 5-215 (Binny), 6-227 (Verma), 7-245 (Gowtham), 8-249 (More).
Bowling: Bhuvneshwar Kumar 24-8-67-4, Ankit Rajput 22-8-52-2 (w-2), Imtiaz Ahmed 19-5-61-0, Piyush Chawla 16-5-60-0 (nb-1), Ali Murtaza 9-2-20-0, Suresh Raina 1-1-0-0.

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