Karnataka, TN in title fight

Karnataka, TN in title fight

Karnataka have been the most dominant domestic side this season, winning both Ranji Trophy and Irani Cup co­m­pr­e­he­nsively. Now, they have a bright chance to add the South Zone one-day title to their kitty when they take on Tamil Nadu in the last league tie of the KS Subbaiah Pillai Trophy at the M Chinnaswamy stadium here on Wednesday.

Both Tamil Nadu and defending champions Karnataka are tied on 14 points after four games, and the winner will take home the title. After Hyderabad pulled off a tie against Karnataka, Tamil Nadu were the clear leader in the title race but a washout against Kerala on Monday nullified their advantage. However, those two quirky results apart both the teams, who have already assured a berth in the all-India knockout tournament to be played in Kolkata, stood miles away from their opponents.

Karnataka, particularly their batsmen, took bit of a time to adjust to the 50-over format in the intial stages of the tournament, reflected in their top-order implosion against Andhra while chasing a sub-100 total and against Hyderabad while batting first. But they returned to their groove in the matches against Kerala and Goa, mustering two 300-plus total in those matches.

Robin Uthappa has been their premier batsman, ensuring that Karnataka got off to a quick start in each of their matches and pairing him with Mayank Agarwal at the top has boosted the potency of the hosts’ opening combination. In contrast, their bowlers were in fine fettle throughout the tournament, giving no lee way to their opponents.

But skipper R Vinay Kumar stood head and shoulders above the rest with his all-round efforts. Without Vinay’s unbeaten 48, Karnataka would have been in deep peril against Hyderabad, and the right-arm medium pacer also grabbed two five-wicket hauls in as many matches.

However, he would wish to have a little more support from his pacer colleagues as S Arvind, HS Sharath and A Mithun -- though they have not given away too many runs --  are yet to pitch in considerably with wickets.

On the other hand, Tamil Nadu have been assertive in the three matches against Hyderabad, Andhra and Goa, winning comfortably by 125 runs, eight wickets and seven wickets respectively.

Opener M Vijay has been their pillar, making 90, 50 and 66 not out in three matches so far, while pacer Vijaykumar Yo Mahesh led their bowling attack.

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