Karnataka inflict innings defeat

Uthappas men assured of quarterfinal berth after huge win over Maharashtra



Resuming from their overnight 254 for five, Maharashtra needed a massive effort even to stretch the match beyond the post-lunch session, considering the bowling strength of Karnataka. Only hope the home side had to do the implausible was the presence of Ankit Bawane.

The dapper right-hander had played with a calm mind to notch his maiden Ranji hundred on Thursday, and he looked primed for another long stay at the crease, displaying an ice-cool temperament and assured stroke-making even when R Vinay Kumar and A Mithun moved the ball around at a considerable pace.
With Ganesh Gaikwad giving Bawane solid support, the hopes in Maharashtra camp might have begun to soar. Gaikwad looked extremely comfortable during his stay, playing some cracking shots all around the park as the sixth wicket association milked 67 runs to keep Karnataka bowlers at bay for the first hour of the morning session.

Off-the-radar bowling and a bit lethargic fielding too did not help the visitors’ cause at this stage as Maharashtra appeared to row towards safety. S Arvind intervened at this juncture, removing Bawane (136, 295m, 224b, 22x4, 1x5) to snuff out the last hope of Maharashtra camp.

Bawane’s uppish cut off the left-arm paceman found Robin Uthappa at point, and the Karnataka skipper’s animated celebration, throwing the ball down wildly, later attracted severe consequences, robbing him of the entire fee of this match.
After more than two hours of stay at the crease, Gaikwad too returned to the hut when the impressive Vinay cleaned up his woodwork with peach of a delivery.

Sticky duo

Once the sticky Bawane-Gaikwad duo was separated it was just a matter of time before Maharashtra folded, and the later order batsmen could not resist the potent combination of Vinay and Mithun as the proceedings fast moved towards its logical conclusion with Karnataka standing with the winners’ cloak proudly draped around them.

Vinay snaffled eight wickets from this match to take his total tally of wickets to a commendable 27 from four matches, while his younger colleague Mithun grabbed seven wickets to increase his tally to an impressive 23.
Sunil Joshi too landed a piece of history when he dismissed Sajjin Sureshnath, the last man, as the veteran left-arm spinner went past BS Chandrasekhar’s tally of 437 to become Karnataka’s highest wicket-taker in Ranji Trophy matches. Joshi now has 438 wickets from 105 matches.

The State acquired six points from this match, swelling their overall tally to 17 points from four games. Now they have a good chance to finish the Group B engagements as leaders, and that possibility gives them a chance to face a qualifier from the Plate Group in the knock-out stage.

Karnataka now have two more matches to complete, and they will take on Baroda at Vadodara from December 1 and in their last league encounter the State will lock horns with Saurashtra at Rajkot. Both Baroda and Saurashtra have strong line-up, but if Karnataka’s performance against Maharashtra is a sign of things to come then those two Western India powerhouses will have a tough time.

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