Karnataka bowlers call the shots

Vinay leads the way with four-wicket haul as Mumbai tumble to 233 all out

Karnataka bowlers call the shots


 A young side unaccustomed to a stage as intimidating as the final of the Ranji Trophy against a team that has won the title 38 times acquitted itself with great credit at the Gangotri Glades on Monday. To bowl out defending champions Mumbai for 233 on the first day of the title clash was an outstanding achievement, though the hosts would have been happier had they not retired to stumps at 15 for the loss of their captain’s wicket.
Karnataka’s pacers exploited conditions that suited them to the hilt admirably, the indefatigable R Vinay Kumar (4/61) again in the forefront and the impressive A Mithun (3/56) playing excellent second fiddle to lop off the Mumbai top. Not for the first time, the domestic powerhouses were bailed out by their lower-order with the phlegmatic Vinayak Samant leading the way as the last four wickets added 127 runs.

Everything about the Glades surface demanded that it was a bowl-first track — the liberal covering of grass promised seam, a fresh pitch offered good pace and bounce. Mumbai, however, have always backed themselves to deliver the goods with the bat, so it came as no surprise when Wasim Jaffer chose to bat first.

That was precisely what Karnataka wanted. As if in thanksgiving, Vinay rocked the holders with a brilliant spell of 7-2-17-3 that accounted for Mumbai’s top three run-scorers this season. Sahil Kukreja was caught behind off the game’s third delivery, Jaffer was sensationally held at short-leg by Ganesh Satish off a perfectly timed flick and Ajinkya Rahane was good enough to nick the ball of the day, a late awayswinger from a perfect length gleefully pouched by CM Gautam.

 Satish’s brilliant effort was one of four outstanding catches. For a team that has struggled with its catching all season long, it was redemption time, the fruits of hard yards at practice all too sweet. KB Pawan went full tilt to his right at gully to send Ramesh Powar on his way, Amit Verma levitated at first slip to snaffle a slash from the feisty Iqbal Abdulla at the stroke of tea and Manish Pandey pulled off a screamer at point to account for Samant and signal the end of the Mumbai resistance as Karnataka’s catching touched unprecedented heights.

Amidst this heartening exhibition, the let-off Uthappa provided to the left-handed Omkar Khanvilkar inside the first hour stuck out like a sore thumb. The luckless S Arvind elicited an inside-edge that ballooned off the pads towards short cover, where Uthappa’s late dive wasn’t sufficient for Karnataka’s fourth success of the morning. That would have made the score 30 for four; instead, Khanvilkar associated himself in rescue act one, alongside Abhishek Nayar, as Mumbai wended their way back.

Khanvilkar, watchfully, and Nayar with customary freedom realised 64 (98m, 125b) when Mithun dramatically sprang to life. At less than his best in his first two spells, the 20-year-old produced two screamers shortly before lunch to twice rattle timber, beating both well-set batsmen for pace, never mind what the moody speed gun reflected.
Ajit Agarkar’s bizarre run out in the first over on resumption left the visitors gasping at 106 for six, but Mumbai have never believed in going down without a fight. With Samant the common factor, they eked out successive stands of 37, 41 and 45 as some of the juice went out of the surface and the bowlers began to tire a little.
Karnataka’s cause wasn’t helped by Mithun spending 45 minutes off the park with cramps immediately after tea. His additional pace with a reversing ball could have terminated the Mumbai innings earlier, but that was not to be, even if shooting the opposition out for 233 was no trifling effort.

With Uthappa well caught by Jaffer low at second slip, it will be up to the in-form young batsmen to rise to the challenge on day two against a well-equipped attack in conditions not unlike what they were on Monday.
DH News Service

Score board

MUMBAI (I Innings): Sahil Kukreja c Gautam b Vinay 0 (2m, 3b), Wasim Jaffer c Satish b Vinay 3 (20m, 8b), Ajinkya Rahane c Gautam b Vinay 14 (21m, 15b, 3x4), Omkar Khanvilkar b Mithun 25 (102m, 60b, 4x4), Abhishek Nayar b Mithun 37 (120m, 75b, 5x4), Vinayak Samant c Pandey c Pandey b Arvind 67 (227m, 157b, 8x4), Ajit Agarkar (run out) 6 (11m, 8b, 1x4), Ramesh Powar c Pawan b Mithun 23 (74m, 70b, 2x4), Iqbal Abdulla c Verma b Vinay 30 (36n, 23b, 5x4), Dhawal Kulkarni c & b Joshi 20 (68m, 55b, 3x4), Aavishkar Salvi (not out) 0 (13m, 4b). Extras (B-1, LB-3, NB-4) 8. Total (all out, 79 overs) 233.
Fall of wickets: 1-0 (Kukreja), 2-19 (Jaffer), 3-20 (Rahane), 4-84 (Khanvilkar), 5-100 (Nayar), 6-106 (Agarkar), 7-143 (Powar), 8-184 (Abdulla), 9-229 (Kulkarni).
Bowling: R Vinay Kumar 20-6-61-4 (nb-3), A Mithun 14-1-56-3 (nb-1), S Arvind 17-5-48-1, Stuart Binny 7-3-11-0, Sunil Joshi 14-4-33-1, Amit Verma 6-1-13-0, Robin Uthappa 1-0-7-0.
KARNATAKA (I Innings): KB Pawan (batting) 2 (31m, 19b), Robin Uthappa c Jaffer b Kulkarni 9 (14m, 11b, 1x4), R Vinay Kumar (batting) 2 (16m, 14b). Extras (NB-2) 2. Total (for 1 wkt, 7 overs) 15.
Fall of wicket: 1-10 (Uthappa).
Bowling: Ajit Agarkar 3-1-5-0, Dhawal Kulkarni 3-0-10-1 (nb-2), Aavishkar Salvi 1-1-0-0.

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