Karnataka batting collapses again

Karnataka’s ability to collapse when least expected is something that is fast becoming endemic.

One look at the batting-heavy roster and it is easy to assume that the CM Gautam-led side can chase down any score. And they have ensured that it is not a mere assumption on more than one occasion in the past but there have been instances where they have just fallen by the wayside for reasons unanswerable. This was one such occasion.

Cruising at 217 for three with 31 runs left to take the innings lead after Haryana scored 247 in their first innings at the Ch Bhansi Lal Cricket Stadium, Karnataka were looking set to take home the day’s honours on day two of their Group ‘A’ Ranji Trophy encounter here. With four established batsmen left in the pavilion, taking the innings lead seemed all too inevitable.

That was before Harshal Patel got a hold of the second new ball and brought Karnataka to their knees. The pacer bowled an intense spell (6-2-15-4) to reduce Karnataka to 236 for eight. Tottering at 246 for nine after Sachin Rana got rid of Ronit More and Karnataka, it seemed, were not going to cross the hurdle but much to their delight Abrar Kazi, who had come to their rescue in games against Vidarbha and Odisha, stepped up to the plate once again to carry the team past the 247-mark.
Karnataka finished the day on 253 for nine from 92 overs with Kazi batting on 10 and HS Sharath unbeaten on 2.

The drama, wherein Karnataka lost six wickets for a mere 29 runs, and Harshal’s five-wicket haul hogged the limelight in the end but if none of that was to unfold, KL Rahul’s 98 (359m, 239b, 9x4) would have been the toast of the day.

From the time he took strike with Mayank Agarwal 42 (136 minutes, 100 balls, 6x4) at the other end, Rahul looked unperturbed even as right-arm pacers Harshal and Ashish Hooda gave it their all.

Rahul chose to play with a lot of caution but at the same time kept the board ticking to carry the team past the half-century mark. Agarwal, who too adopted a similar strategy, then, switched to his natural game and sent Haryana bowlers on a leather hunt, taking a particular liking to Hooda. But Agarwal’s aggression cost him his wicket with 13 minutes left for lunch.

Gautam, coming into this game with just one half-century under his belt, seemed weary walking up to join Rahul at the centre following the quick wickets of Kunal Kapoor and Manish Pandey post lunch, but he defied rotten luck and quickly got into a classy groove.

Just when it looked like it was all going Karnataka’s way Rana managed to sneak past Gautam’s (54, 138m, 109b, 6x4) defences to bring an end to their 97-run alliance.

Soon after, Haryana took the second new ball and that’s when all hell broke loose.

Harshal charged in from the pavilion end and sent Rahul back to the hut. With Rahul out of the way, Haryana saw an opening and exploited it to the hilt. Harshal  got rid of Stuart Binny and Ganesh Satish leg before wicket before sending Abhimanyu Mithun’s middle stump cartwheeling.

It was then down to Kazi to see his side past Haryana, and the 24-year-old once again saved Karnataka the blushes.

score board

HARYANA (I Innings): 247 all out
KARNATAKA (I Innings, O/n: 18/0): Mayank Agarwal c Jayant c Hooda 42 (136 minutes, 100 balls, 6x4), KL Rahul b Harshal 98 (359m, 239b, 9x4), Kunal Kapoor b Harshal 8 (29m, 17b, 1x4), Manish Pandey c Sunny b Hooda 4 (14m, 13b, 1x4), CM Gautam b Rana 54 (138m, 109b, 6x4), Stuart Binny lbw Harshal 7 (29m, 21b, 1x4), Ganesh Satish lbw Harshal 1 (17m, 12b), Abrar Kazi (batting) 10 (40m, 26b, 2x4), Abhimanyu Mithun b Harshal 2 (8m, 7b), Ronit More c Barot b Rana 3 (15m, 10b), HS Sharath (batting) 2 (8m, 2b). Extras (B-5, LB-8, NB-4, W-5) 22. Total (for 9 wkts, 92 overs) 253.
Fall of wickets: 1-96 (Agarwal), 2-115 (Kapoor), 3-120 (Pandey), 4-217 (Gautam), 5-224 (Rahul), 6-233 (Binny), 7-234 (Satish), 8-236 (Mithun), 9-246 (More).
Bowling: Harshal Patel 28-10-55-5, Sanjay Budhwar 15-4-44-0 (w-5), Ashish Hooda 17-2-51-2, Sachin Rana 21-3-50-2 (nb-4), Jayant Yadav 5-0-20-0, Rahul Tiwatiya 6-1-20-0.

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