Batting will play a big role: Vinay

Maintaining that Karnataka have psychological edge over Punjab after having won their previous two encounters, skipper R Vinay Kumar stressed that knockout games are a different ballgame altogether.

“We will have that extra advantage of having beaten them with a bonus point in the group stages,” said Vinay on the eve of their Ranji Trophy semifinal clash against Punjab. “But it’s a different ballgame now. League stages offer you a chance to come back but in the knockouts, it’s very different,” reasoned Vinay.

His rival number Harbhajan Singh didn’t see any merit in dwelling in the past. “That game is over,” he remarked. “We are playing at home and are confident of doing well. We know the conditions here well. It is a different game. Previously I have done so well for India, it does not give the guarantee that the next time I play for India I’ll do well.

Likewise here too, what we have done is gone, it’s a fresh game, we have a good side and we have played some good cricket. Karnataka have played some good cricket to reach the semifinals as well, so it will be a good contest,” he offered.

Though the heavy fog is likely to curtail the play, Vinay felt the game would go to the fourth innings. “It’s pretty cold but we played the Delhi game also in similar weather, so we’re used to it. But they (Punjab) are used to it more (than us). It looks like we could play from 10 to 4.

We may get around 60 overs, or 70 at best. But this is a five-day game so there won’t be much problem for us. Whoever bats well (in the first innings) will definitely have the extra advantage but definitely the game will go into the fourth innings. It’s not like a first-innings game,” he felt.

Inconsistent batting has been one of the main worries for Punjab though. “It’s been okay, I wouldn’t say it has been very satisfying,” said Harbhajan. 

“We have played a lot of games at home and although we know our conditions, we’ve been on and off in the batting department. The only time we scored more than 500 runs was in the game against Jharkhand. A good batting line-up should be able to get 400 runs each time it bats.

In the last 2-3 games we have been able to do that. If the batting side gets more than 400, it becomes easier for the bowlers go out there and do their job. So overall it’s not been too good, but not too bad either.”

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