Karnataka storm into semifinals

Shreyas grabs five wickets as hosts drub UP by 92 runs to set up last-four clash with Punjab

Karnataka storm into semifinals

A dominant Karnataka consigned Uttar Pradesh to a 92-run defeat to book their semifinal berth against Punjab, who prevailed over Jammu and Kashmir in the other Ranji Trophy quarterfinal.

Overnight 55/1 in pursuit of Karnataka’s stiff target of 333, Uttar Pradesh buckled under pressure in the face of a sustained high quality bowling and some gamesmanship by the home team. Uttar Pradesh batting did have its moments under the sun but Karnataka were clearly the better side even in the absence of their most-improved paceman HS Sharath.

The visitors’ openers resumed Saturday’s fourth day on a positive note with Tanmay Srivatsava and Ali Murtuza showing little signs of discomfort against R Vinay Kumar and A Mithun. The duo often dispatched the ball to the rope and added 30 runs in less than six overs. But once Vinay plucked out a well-set Srivatsava with the last ball of the sixth over on the day, it was all downhill for UP who were shot out for 240. The innings lasted 224 minutes on the fourth day as Karnataka won with well over a day to spare. Karnataka will now travel to Mohali for their semifinal clash against Punjab, beginning on January 18. The six-time champions are making the last-four stage after their loss to Baroda in 2010-11 season on a crumbling Vadodara pitch.    

Young leg-spinning all-rounder Shreyas Gopal once again underlined the value he brings to the table with his maiden five-wicket haul in only his third first-class match. His 5/59, with four of those wickets coming on Saturday, helped Karnataka completely negate the disadvantage in the shape of Sharath’s non-availability. 

With the strapping paceman sidelined with an injury to his bowling shoulder, Vinay and Mithun shouldered more workload but without Shreyas complementing their effort, it would have been an uphill task for Karnataka. With the captain showing more confidence in Shreyas than his lead spinner Abrar Kazi, who bowled a mere 14 overs of left-arm spin in this match, the 20-year-old operated in three spells to scalp four wickets to go with the wicket of Mukul Dagar on Friday.   

Mithun, declared man of the match for his match haul of 7/141, bowled his heart out once again. The well-built paceman rarely dropped his intensity as he prised out three top-order batsmen, one in each of his spells, to never allow UP a foothold in the game. Having cleaned up Mohammad Kaif for zero in the first innings, Mithun handed the woefully out-of-form batsman a pair by dismissing him for a two-ball duck. In the second spell, the 24-year-old accounted for the dangerous Parvinder Singh who shouldered arms only to see his stumps shattered and leaving UP teetering at 138 for six. Victory appeared just a matter of when rather than if for Karnataka. Eklavya Dwivedi (33, 81b, 5x4) and Piyush Chawla (44, 47b, 7x4), however, gave some jitters to a few hundred noisy home fans by forging a counter-attacking alliance. 

The left-right combo added 70 runs and just when it seemed Karnataka appeared to be losing steam, Mithun provided the crucial breakthrough by getting rid of Dwivedi, whose flick was brilliantly snapped up by a diving Vinay.  Shreyas then claimed the wickets of Chawla and Amit Mishra to complete his five-wicket haul while Vinay applied the finishing touches by re-arranging Ankit Rajpoot’s stumps. The end, though, had a touch of drama to it. Vinay had sent RP Singh’s middle stump for a walk but it turned out to be a no-ball on review by umpire Rajesh Deshpande. But, as they say, it merely delayed the inevitable.

Liked the story?

  • 0

    Happy
  • 0

    Amused
  • 0

    Sad
  • 0

    Frustrated
  • 0

    Angry