Karnataka scent victory

Cricket Ranji Trophy: Delhi slump to 40/3 chasing 410 for win; Host batsmen shine

Karnataka’s batsmen finally put up their hands to be counted as they brought the hosts in sight of their first win in the Ranji Trophy this season.

Just when the cry for their heads was turning into an uproar, six batsmen struck half-centuries to help Karnataka set an improbable target for Delhi in the fourth innings with a day’s play left in their Group ‘B’ encounter at the M Chinnaswamy stadium.

Thanks to their combined might, Karnataka, who had conceded a 66-run first innings lead, declared their second innings at 475 for nine -- their highest second innings total this season. That left Delhi with a target of 410 for a win and at close, the visitors were 40 for three, requiring 370 more runs on the final day of an enthralling game.

On Monday, Karnataka could not have got off to a poorer start as the overnight opening partnership between Robin Uthappa (81 runs, 169 minutes, 119 balls, 13x4) and K L Rahul ended with the former departing after adding just four runs to his overnight total. Rahul (73, 196m, 96b, 13x4) too fell 27 runs later and the situation only got worse as Karnataka lost two more wickets with the score stagnant on 167.

With another collapse looming, Stuart Binny (85, 161m, 100b, 9x4, 4x6) and Manish Pandey (61, 155m, 106b, 7x4, 1x6) joined hands in the middle to carry Karnataka through a tough phase before using the long handle to put Delhi on the mat. C M Gautam (71) and Abhimanyu Mithun (52) also joined in with brisk knocks while captain R Vinay Kumar contributed a quickfire 30 to run Delhi ragged.

Apart from their shoddy effort on the field, Delhi were on the backfoot mainly because of how the burly Binny wielded his bat. The hosts had lost four wickets for the addition of 31 runs in the opening hour but Binny rose to the occasion in the company of Pandey. Both the batsmen were well aware of their off-stump and opted to leave a lot more while still on the look-out for that bad ball. They added 30 runs before Binny switched gears.

The right-hander smacked a stylish six off Vikas Mishra over long off to bring up Karnataka’s 200 in the 49th over, and if that was not enough he stepped out the very next ball to send it sailing over the same region once again. Binny was not done. Once Pandey took apart Rajat Bhatia with a string of effortless boundaries, Binny again hoisted Vikas for another six over wide long off.

Karnataka rushed towards 250 with both the batsmen in tremendous touch and with Binny reaching his fifty from 71 balls, the hosts went to lunch leading by 191 runs. Binny and Pandey continued in the same way in the post-lunch session as they smashed Delhi’s bowlers around, taking a special liking to Vikas.

Delhi was forced to use the left-arm spinner, who was struck for 99 runs from his 20 overs, as they were well behind the over rate. Delhi’s problems were further compounded as they were not able to use Parvinder Awana (3/89) to full effect, while Ashish Nehra seemed to have strained himself after bowling a mere three overs on the day.

Binny and Pandey’s stand was broken eventually but the damage was done as the duo had stitched a 145-run partnership for the fifth wicket and set base for the rest of Karnataka’s middle and lower order to have a hit at Delhi. And they were more than happy to oblige.

score board

KARNATAKA (I Innings): 192 all out.
DELHI (I Innings): 258 all out.
KARNATAKA (II Innings, O/n: 136/0 in 31 overs): Robin Uthappa c Bisht b Awana 81 (169m, 119b, 13x4), KL Rahul c Bisht b Narwal 73 (196m, 96b, 13x4), Kunal Kapoor lbw Awana 6 (28m, 16b, 1x4), Ganesh Satish lbw Narwal 0 (10m, 5b), Manish Pandey b Mishra 61 (155m, 106b, 7x4, 1x6), Stuart Binny c Chand b Bhatia 85 (161m, 100b, 9x4, 4x6), CM Gautam c Bhatia b Mohit 71 (115m, 94b, 9x4), R Vinay Kumar 30 (57m, 37b, 4x4), Abhimanyu Mithun c Bhatia b Narwal 52 (47m, 50b, 4x4, 2x6), HS Sharath (not out) 0 (4m). Extras (B-6, LB-6, W-1, NB-3) 16. Total (for nine wkts, 103.2 overs) 475.
Fall of wickets: 1-140 (Uthappa), 2-167 (Rahul), 3-167 (Kapoor), 4-167 (Ganesh), 5-312 (Pandey), 6-320 (Binny), 7-383 (Vinay), 8-466 (Gautam), 9-475 (Mithun).

Bowling: Ashish Nehra 12-1-51-0 (nb-1, w-1), Parvinder Awana 22-2-89-3, Sumit Narwal 21.2-2-84-3, Rajat Bhatia 20-1-87-1 (nb-2), Vikash Mishra 20-2-99-1, Mohit Sharma 8-0-53-1.

DELHI (II Innings): Unmukt Chand lbw Vinay 18 (38m, 29b, 3x4), Shikhar Dhawan lbw Sharath 13 (49m, 23b, 2x4), Mohit Sharma (batting) 4 (27m, 16b, 1x4), Vikas Mishra c Rahul b Sharath 0 (3m, 3b), Mithun Manhas (batting) 1 (12m, 7b). Extras (B-4) 4. Total (for 3 wkts, 13 overs) 40.
Fall of wickets: 1-30 (Chand), 2-35 (Dhawan), 3-35 (Mishra).
Bowling: R Vinay Kumar 5-1-14-1, Abhimanyu Mithun 6-1-13-0, HS Sharath 2-0-9-2.

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