Confident Karnataka to face Baroda

Moti Bagh pitch expected to offer assistance to pace bolwers


Karnataka’s pace triumvirate – R Vinay Kumar, A Mithun and S Arvind – has been on a roll right from the start, and they have taken a staggering 59 wickets between them from the four previous Super League Group B matches. That ratio makes them the most successful and intimidating pace bowling unit in the current domestic season.

 Though the Karnataka lads combine into a menacing group, they are as different as chalk and cheese in their operating ethos. Vinay, the bowling chart topper with 27 wickets so far, believes in teasing the batsmen with a tidy line and length. His wickets have come at an impressive average of 17.66, and at an economy rate of 2.87.

For him bowling is more like a game of Russian Roulette; waiting for the right moment to pounce on his prey and bowling over after over does not tire him out, as he runs in with the same zest he displayed in the first over. Such a tight line makes Vinay an awkward proposition to bat against, easing the burden on the other two pace bowlers.

Mithun has been the biggest beneficiary of having an exemplary performer like Vinay at the other end. Realising the difficulties of putting Vinay away, rival batsmen try to take runs off Mithun and Arvind. The two have done well to exploit that mindset of the opposition, but attributing their success to Vinay’s presence alone will be an injustice to their hard work.

Mithun has been a revelation and the most compelling sight of this young Karnataka side, perched on the top branch of their Group with 17 points, five ahead of second-placed Uttar Pradesh. His slinky approach to the crease and smooth release of the cherry at a brisk pace have made him a connoisseur’s delight, also earning him 22 wickets from four games.

Make no mistake, Mithun is not just about raw pace, he has the ability to move the ball off the pitch and in the air to go with a warrior’s attitude. He displayed it on the third afternoon against Maharashtra on a rather flaccid track. Those who saw him bowling a nine-over first spell would never forget the pace, bounce and swing he managed to procure from the pitch to rattle the Maharashtra top order.

With their batsmen in superb touch from the first game, these bowlers have got plenty of runs on the board, helping them to bowl without any pressure. If skipper Robin Uthappa too joins the run-making party then Karnataka will transform into a stronger unit.

But Baroda offer a different story. They have two excellent pacemen, Irfan Pathan and Munaf Patel, but the hosts have not exactly managed to turn that into their advantage as they are placed fifth in the Group with five points from three ties.

The duo’s combined wicket tally has not touched double digits, and their batting too has been a worry so far as they have not fired consistently enough to make an impact on the game.So, Baroda will be hoping for a turnaround in their fortunes from the morrow, but it will be like climbing a steep mountain against this confident Karnataka side.

Teams (from): Karnataka: Robin Uthappa (Capt), KB Pawan, Manish Pandey, Amit Verma, B Akhil, CM Gautam, Sunil Joshi, R Vinay Kumar, Ganesh Satish, A Mithun, S Aravind, Stuart Binny, Udit Patel, KP Appanna, Ryan Ninan.

Baroda: Connor Williams, Jacob Martin, Irfan Pathan, Yusuf Pathan, Ajitesh Argal, Shatrunjay Gaekwad, Pinal Shah (wk), Azhar Bilakhia, Ketan Panchal, Satyajit Parab, Munaf Patel, Rakesh Solanki, Swapnil Singh, Murtuja Vahora, Rajesh Pawar.
Umpires: SS Ravi and KA Anathapadmanabhan. Match referee: Prakash Bhat.
Timing: 9.30 am onwards.

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