Pandey, Satish seal emphatic Karnataka win

Pandey, Satish seal emphatic Karnataka win

Former champions to clash with Punjab in quarterfinals at Mysore

Karnataka thus ended their Ranji Trophy Super League Group B campaign in the same manner as they started it, a month and a half back in Meerut — a commanding triumph.

Their six-wicket win over Saurashtra with more than a session to spare was Karnataka’s fourth outright victory in six outings, and helped them finish their league campaign with a country-high 28 points.

Their reward now is a quarterfinal in Mysore against Punjab from next Thursday after Uttar Pradesh were given the top status in the group despite finishing second with 18 points by virtue of being last year’s beaten finalists.
The final day had its fair share of drama, but that was overshadowed by Pandey’s brilliance and Satish’s versatility as Karnataka made light of a mid-innings mini-collapse and a tricky target of 240 in some style.

The two right-handers realised 125 (100m, 155b) attractive runs for the fourth wicket to stabilise the innings after the visitors had slipped to 87 for three, Satish remaining undefeated when Stuart Binny brought up victory with a soaring six over long-off to help Karnataka finish on 241 for four.
Karnataka made a bright start by knocking over the two remaining Saurashtra wickets inside the first half-hour. Overnight 389 for eight, the hosts would have hoped to keep Karnataka on the park for as long as possible, but Udit Patel evicted Sandeep Jobanputra off the day’s fourth delivery and S Aravind accounted for Sandip Maniar not long afterwards to terminate Saurashtra’s second innings at 407.

Myriad challenges
Even on a good batting strip, the target of 240 posed myriad challenges. It appeared as if Robin Uthappa had decided to take it upon himself to meet all those challenges single-handedly as he launched a blistering early attack that left Saurashtra shell-shocked.

Both Jobanputra and Maniar came in for heavy punishment as the Karnataka skipper, back at the top of the order where he belongs, played a succession of blazing strokes, mainly through the off-side. With KB Pawan enjoying the entertainment from the best seat in the ground, Uthappa dominated the opening stand of 60 (48m, 55b) before top-edging a pull to mid-on.

Suddenly, it appeared a completely different ball game as Jobanputra and Maniar made the ball talk, the latter cleaning up Pawan eight deliveries later with a ball that shaped away on pitching and found the outside edge.
Amit Verma had a glorious chance to assert himself in a pressure situation but threw his hand away with a loose drive off left-arm spinner Rakesh Dhruv, triggering mild uneasiness in the change room.

Nerves dispelled
Satish and Pandey dispelled those nerves in fantastic fashion, and through contrasting approaches.

Satish’s first-innings ton had been a strokeful compilation, but in deference to the situation, he played the waiting game to perfection on Friday. Pandey, on the other hand, continued to remain as positive as ever, uncorking some vintage strokes and mocking the length of the boundary ropes as the runs flowed copiously after lunch.
With victory imminent, Pandey was stranded mid-pitch in a bid to hasten the end. Binny slipped into the breach admirably even as Satish continued to impress with his temperament.

* At Mysore: Karnataka vs Punjab
* At Rohtak: Haryana vs Mumbai
* At Delhi: Delhi vs Tamil Nadu
* At Guwahati: Assam vs Uttar Pradesh.
The quarterfinals will be played from Dec 24-27