Karnataka poised to notch another win

The pitch at the Bhansi Lal Cricket stadium betrayed its tranquil surroundings as the green top lived up to a pace bowling unit’s expectations on an overcast Sunday here.

Fifteen wickets fell on the day but Karnataka, despite a few setbacks, were still in the drivers’ seat going into the final day. Chasing 97 to win their Group ‘A’ Ranji Trophy tie against Haryana, Karnataka are 62 for four, needing 35 more runs.

Scoring 256 in their first essay after Haryana had scored 247 in their first stint, Karnataka took a slender lead of nine runs before returning to the field to have a crack Haryana’s batsmen in conditions that seemed tailor-made for their bowlers.

Led from the front by Ronit More’s superb five-wicket haul and a disciplined bowling effort from rest of the arsenal, Karnataka bundled out Rahul Dewan’s men for 105.

Requiring 97 runs to post an outright win, Karnataka began their run chase in a rather disappointing fashion as they lost the wickets of Mayank Agarwal and Kunal Kapoor by the time they had 20 runs on board.

KL Rahul (29) and Manish Pandey (17), then steadied the ship in carrying the visitors to 55 for two before Pandey returned to the hut after scoring 17 runs. Soon after, in a moment of inexplicable confusion, Rahul was run out attempting a non-existent three.

CM Gautam (5) and Stuart Binny then saw out a couple of overs before the umpires decided to draw the stumps, leaving Karnataka with a fairly simple job of bagging six points to leapfrog Punjab to the third spot on the table.

At the start of the Haryana second innings, no one anticipated the game to be headed in this direction. Abhimanyu Mithun stormed in from the pavilion end and bowled out an effective but unlucky first over. HS Sharath was expected to come and bowl at the other end but skipper Gautam chose to lead with More instead. The ploy seemed to be going nowhere as the batsmen were comfortable playing out the pacer.

In fact, batting coach J Arun Kumar and bowling coach Mansur Ali Khan sent word for Gautam to replace More with Sharath at the far end. Gautam, however, gave More another over, and it clicked. The pacer got rid of Sunny Singh with the score on 14, and followed that up with a brilliant ball in the next over to crash into Yatharth Tomar’s stumps.

The new-ball pair was replaced by Sharath and Binny and the latter struck almost immediately. Binny caught Nitin Saini in front of the stumps to reduce Haryana to 45 for four.

From there on, there was no stopping Karnataka. More returned for his second spell (8-5-7-3) and bagged three crucial wickets to complete his five-wicket haul, while Mithun, Binny, Sharath and Abrar Kazi were rewarded with one wicket apiece.

Karnataka were then left with a task that seemed far too easy at the time. The loss of four wickets raised Haryana’s hopes but with plenty of batting to come, the visitors look poised to post their second successive win.

score board

HARYANA (I Innings): 247 all out.
KARNATAKA (I Innings, O/n: 253/9): Abrar Kazi c Saini b Harshal 12 (49m, 33b, 2x4), HS Sharath (not out) 2 (17m, 3b). Extras (B-6, LB-8, NB-4, W-5) 23. Total (all out, 92 overs) 256.
Bowling: Harshal Patel 28.2-10-55-6, Sanjay Budhwar 15-4-44-0 (w-5), Ashish Hooda 17-2-51-2, Sachin Rana 22-3-52-2 (nb-4), Jayant Yadav 5-0-20-0, Rahul Tiwatiya 6-1-20-0.
HARYANA (II Innings): Avi Barot (run out) 0 (7m, 6b), Rahul Dewan c Gautam b More 31 (136m, 86b, 3x4), Sunny Singh c Kazi b More 4 (32m, 19b), Yatharth Tomar b More 0 (7m, 3b), Nitin Saini c Pandey b Binny 11 (47m, 33b, 2x4), Jayant Yadav c Gautam b Mithun 6 (45m, 28b), Sachin Rana c Mayank b More 10 (38m, 25b, 1x4), Rahul Tiwatiya lbw Kazi 15 (100m, 52b, 1x4), Harshal Patel b More 0 (5m, 4b), Ashish Hooda c Pandey b Sharath 1 (39m, 23b), Sanjay Budhwar (not out) 3 (15m, 13b). Extras (B-7, LB-9, W-6, NB-2) 24. Total (all out, 48.3 overs) 105.
Fall of wickets: 1-2 (Barot), 2-14 (Sunny), 3-18 (Tomar), 4-45 (Saini), 5-65 (Dewan), 6-65 (Jayant), 7-80 (Rana), 8-80 (Harshal), 9-93 (Hooda).
Bowling: Abhimanyu Mithun 13-3-29-1 (w-1), Ronit More 14-6-20-5, HS Sharath 9-3-21-1 (w-5), Stuart Binny 11-3-19-1 (nb-2), Manish Pandey 1-1-0-0, Abrar Kazi 0.3-0-0-1.
KARNATAKA (II Innings): Mayank Agarwal c Barot b Hooda 1 (8m, 7b), KL Rahul (run out) 29 (110m, 68b, 2x4), Kunal Kapoor c Tiwatiya b Harshal 10 (33m, 18b, 1x4), Manish Pandey c Tiwatiya b Harshal 17 (56m, 34b, 3x4), CM Gautam (batting) 5 (17m, 11b), Stuart Binny (batting) 0 (6m, 0b). Total (for 4 wkts, 23 overs) 62.
Fall of wickets: 1-1 (Agarwal), 2-20 (Kapoor), 3-55 (Pandey), 4-59 (Rahul).
Bowling: Harshal 11-2-26-2, Hooda 6-2-20-1, Budhwar 6-0-16-0.

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