Karnataka fight back to stay in the hunt

Bowlers shine to restrict Railways to 106/4

Karnataka fight back to stay in the hunt

The fortunes swung like the weather. Karnataka, dominated by the Railways till the post-lunch session of the second day, fought back to wrestle the advantage in the last session of their Group A match at the Karnail Singh stadium here on Monday.

There was no play in the entire first session due to dense fog. But once the play started, seamer KK Upadhyay shook off the dullness by his probing spell, finishing with an impressive 7-98. Karnataka’s tail was wiped off for 40 runs, with Upadhyay taking all the three wickets.

The visitors, who had resumed at 207/7, made 247 in their first innings, and CM Gautam (64) played a major role in it. Railways were 106 for four at close. Anustup Majumdar (25) and Avinash Yadav (1) were holding the forte when bad light stopped play.

The home side made a strong start to their pursuit through Abhishek Kaushik (59) and Nithin Bhille, who milked 58 runs for the second wicket after Abhimanyu Mithun dislodged Rohan Bhosale, who replaced an out of form Asad Pathan, in the second over itself. Bhosale edged Mithun to Gautam behind the wicket.

It was not the kind of start Railways would have fancied. But Kaushik displayed pluck and gumption to take the fight to Karnataka, and not only with the bat. The left-handed opener was involved in an on-field skirmish with Karnataka fielders but he kept his focus to ensure Railways take tea at 63/1.

The defending champions, however, resumed play with a reformed body language. The languor was replaced by aggression and hunger for breakthrough. Binny, one of the probables in the World Cup squad, provided the answer immediately after the tea.

The medium pacer dispatched Bhille and Arindam Ghosh in quick intervals to bring Karnataka back into the game. Bhille edged to Manish Pandey at first slip in the first ball of the final session while Ghosh was trapped leg before when he came forward for a defensive shot.

We were going for wickets and gave away couple of boundaries early. When we came back at tea we decided to bowl at just good areas of the wicket. We like to play hard cricket and it showed on the field,” Binny said. “I have gone up on my pace in last 8-10 months. I am running much harder than normally I did last year and results are showing,” he said.

Kaushik held one end firmly, and did the bulk of scoring in the partnerships. He was watchful as the odd ball kicked off, but never let go a chance to score. He was elegant in his drives and brought his half-century with a jab to fine leg. Ironically, he fell to part-time medium pace of Manish Pandey, who trapped him leg-before, and sparked frenzied celebrations among Karnataka players. 

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