Hyderabad pull off a tie

Hyderabad pull off a tie

At several points during their match against Hyderabad on Friday, Karnataka stared at their first defeat of this season. R Vinay Kumar hauled his side back on each of those occasions, displaying a will harder than iron.

Vinay’s unbeaten 47 (50b, 4x4, 1x6) handed Karnataka a defendable 248 for eight, and he then crippled Hyderabad’s chase with a five-wicket haul. However, even Vinay’s remarkable effort couldn’t ensure a win for Karnataka as the visitors too notched up 248 for the loss of seven wickets to grab a tie.

Ashish Reddy, who made a brave unbeaten 51, too deserve credit for keeping Hyderabad in the fight. The right-hander stitched together 53 runs for the seventh-wicket with Kanishk Naidu and then made 30 for the eighth wicket in the company of Alfred Absolem as the visitors turned a certain defeat into a tie and forced Karnataka to share two points. Hyderabad needed 14 runs off the last over but Abhimanyu Mithun could not defend them, conceding a six to Absolem in the fourth ball and then a four to Ashish in the last ball with five runs required.

But the protagonist of the day title belonged emphatically to Vinay without whom Karnataka would have struggled to even stay in the competition. Hyderabad made a positive beginning to their chase of 249, reaching 48 for no loss in the 13th over, and the Karnataka bowlers wouldn’t possibly have looked so toothless during the entire season. Amidst that collective inertia Vinay provided the first spark, breaching the defence of Tirumalasetti Suman with one that arched back.

Akshath Reddy and Dwaraka Ravi Teja added 79 runs for the second wicket to take Hyderabad to 127 before Robin Uthappa dismissed Akshath. A little later, Mithun sent Teja back in a rather bizarre manner. Teja ducked under a bouncer from Mithun but the ball richochetted off his bat, that was held above his head, en route to stumper CM Gautam, who completed a spectacular catch diving to the leg side.

Even at 142 for three at the end of the 31st over, Hyderabad were in a position to hunt down the target but Vinay made a timely re-appearance. There was nothing in the pitch save a light green colour to keep the pacer interested, but the right-arm bowler conjured a superb third spell (2-0-13-3) to push Hyderabad to the brink.

They lost Gade Hanuma Vihari, Rahul Singh and Habeeb Ahmed in quick succession, slipping to 165 for six in the 38th over before Ashish prodcued those gritty alliances with the tailenders to keep Hyderabad afloat.

It was not just with ball that Vinay saved Karnataka. The domestic champions’ top-order didn’t produce the desired amount of runs, and they lost too many wickets upfront.

Uthappa fell leg before to Pragyan Ojha for 45 just when the Kodava man was shifting to a higher gear, and the umpire’s decision left him disappointed. KL Rahul, Ganesh Satish, Karun Nair and Gautam looked promising even though the Hyderabad bowlers beat them outside the off-stump on numerous occasions, but they could not convert those hard-earned runs into something more substantial.

Manish Pandey looked totally uncomfortable during his 23-minute stay in the middle before perishing to Ashish, and at 148 for six the hosts were in genuine danger of folding up for a sub-par total. Vinay first stemmed the rot, milking 66 runs for the seventh wicket with Amit Verma (44), and then pushed them towards a respectable total adding 27 runs for the ninth wicket with Abrar Kazi.

In other matches, Tamil Nadu defeated Andhra by eight wickets and Kerala posted a three-wicket win over Goa.

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