Maiden win for Karnataka

Hosts kick-start their resurgence with 159-run victory over Delhi

Maiden win for Karnataka

A tireless bowling unit and three brilliant catches propelled in Karnataka to their first Ranji Trophy victory this season.

On a docile wicket at the M Chinnaswamy stadium on Tuesday, Karnataka defeated Delhi by 159 runs to claim six points after coming on top in their Group ‘B’ Ranji Trophy encounter. Karnataka now have eleven points from five matches to move up from the bottom of the table to sixth, while Delhi dropped from fourth to fifth with eleven points from six matches.

Chasing 410 for an improbable win, Delhi resumed at 40 for three and against a persistent Karnataka bowling unit, their second innings ended at 250. Mithun Manhas (80) and Rajat Bhatia (63) kept Delhi afloat but once their 110-run partnership for the sixth wicket was broken, Delhi’s resistance too withered.

Led by HS Sharath, who finished with a match haul of seven wickets after adding three wickets to his first innings’ tally, Karnataka’s bowlers kept the Delhi batsmen on a leash. Skipper R Vinay Kumar also scalped three wickets while Stuart Binny, who picked up two big wickets and scored a crucial 85 in the second innings, was named the man of the match.

As play began on Monday, Delhi’s batsmen faced a daunting task of keeping seven of their batsmen from falling prey to Karnataka’s bowling unit. That seemed far-fetched when they lost Mohit Sharma after only three runs were added to the overnight tally and Vaibhav Rawal (18) with the score on 76 -- under questionable circumstances.

Rawal and Manhas had kept Karnataka at bay for 76 balls before a blinder from KL Rahul in first slip hurt their chances of staying alive. Rawal pushed at a full and wide delivery from Sharath and ended up edging the ball to Rahul. While the debutant and the rest of Karnataka’s players celebrated the low catch, Rawal -- unhappy with umpire Rohan R Pandit’s decision -- trudged away reluctantly after spending more than a minute hoping for him to go upstairs to refer the decision.

The loss of Rawal’s wicket, brought Manhas and Bhatia together. The duo, with a combined total of 176 first-class matches, began to get on Karnataka’s nerves before the former mistimed a pull off Binny down Manish Pandey’s throat at square leg. After having broken the partnership, Vinay began to experiment with his field placements and one such move put a frown on Bhatia’s otherwise calm face.

Returning from tea, Vinay positioned Rahul at what can only be described as short cover point. Bhatia played out three deliveries from Binny with no effort and drove the fourth -- a full length delivery — to the cover region. Much to his surprise, Rahul stuck his right hand out and snatched the ball inches from the ground.

With Bhatia out of the way and Delhi requiring 207, it was only a matter of time before Karnataka had their way. Sumit Narwal put up some resistance with a quickfire 41 (37m, 32b, 9x4) but Robin Uthappa put an end to that after a top-edged hook off Vinay had soared high. Uthappa, running in from third man, dived forward and got his palm under the ball after having misjudged his run marginally to end up with a stunning catch.

Parvinder Awana, who was a thorn in Karnataka’s flesh in the first innings, and Ashish Nehra stood between the hosts and their quest for six points. Karnataka didn’t have to wait for too long as Awana cross-batted Vinay straight to Rahul at long on to send the hosts jumping for joy.

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