Champs roar again, begin with win

Arvind claims hat-trick as Karnataka register 285-run win over Tamil Nadu

Champs roar again, begin with win

Vijay Shankar’s top edge off R Vinay Kumar hung in the air seemingly forever. Finally, the ball nestled safely in the big gloves of Robin Uthappa, who let out a roar to signal Karnataka’s resounding 285-run win over Tamil Nadu in their Group A match at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium here on Wednesday.

It was not as smooth a victory as that massive margin suggested. On various occasions during the last four days Tamil Nadu threatened to push Karnataka to the brink. But on each of those instances, the reigning Ranji Trophy champions discovered a crisis-management expert. The list included CM Gautam, Kunal Kapoor, R Vinay Kumar and S Arvind on the previous days, and Stuart Binny joined the list on the fourth day with a blistering half-century (77, 68b).

His 118-run alliance with Manish Pandey (56 n.o.) pushed Karnataka, overnight 247 for four, to 351 for five declared. Binny and Pandey made 110 of those runs in the final morning in just 13.5 overs, squeezing the spirit and belief out of Tamil Nadu camp. More importantly, their quick runs gave Karnataka bowlers enough time to have a crack at the Tamil Nadu line-up. But taking 10 wickets in just over two sessions was not an easy task even on a wearing track.

However, Karnataka needed just 34.3 overs to bundle out the opposition for 82 with their bowlers producing an intense effort. Of all the Karnataka bowlers none was more impressive on this day than Arvind, who became the latest State bowler to claim a Ranji Trophy hat-trick. The left-arm medium pacer jettisoned Malolan Rangarajan, L Balaji and M Mohammad in successive deliveries as Tamil Nadu innings fell headlong into a deep gorge.

In one exemplary over -- 1-1-0-3 -- Arvind blew away Tamil Nadu lower order. He ended up with match figures of 39.4-13-61-8 to grab the man of the match award. Incidentally, Abhimanyu Mithun, the man whom Arvind came for in the playing XI, was the last Karnataka bowler to bag a hat-trick in Ranji Trophy. Mithun achieved the feat against Uttar Pradesh at Meerut in the 2009-10 season.

For long, Arvind had to endure the disappoinment of missing matches due to injuries. In that time, he went down the pecking order too as fresh faces like HS Sharath and Ronit More came into the Karnataka set up. But this day, Arvind proved that there is place for experience and craft in cricket with a stellar effort.

After Vinay snared Kaushik Gandhi, Arvind dealt the heaviest blow to Tamil Nadu’s ambitions of survivng the day. The visitors needed Abhinav Mukund, who showed glimpses of returning to his stubborn best in the first innings with a fifty, to play a similar innings to salvage a draw and a point. But the left-handed opener fell to Arvind’s precision.

Arvind opened up Mukund with gem of a delivery, and Pandey collected the edge after an initial fumble at slips. Dinesh Karthik, a batsman who has the technique and temperament to bat long, was still around. But he attempted a non-existent second run and Shreyas Gopal caught him short of the crease with a fine throw from deep to CM Gautam, who did not keep wickets in the middle session due to tightness on his knee.

In Baba Aparajith, Baba Indrajith and skipper R Prasanna, Tamil Nadu still had some talented batsmen in the hut. But none of them seemed to be in a mood to offer resistance, and it reflected in Aparajith’s dismissal.

The right-hander tonked Shreyas’ rank long hop high and into the hands of Sharath at deep square leg. Karnataka swept away the rest like dried leaves.

In four days’ time they will meet Bengal at Kolkata, and a loud warning has already been sounded.
DH News Service

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