Karnataka reign supreme

Cricket Irani Cup: Ranji champs maintain winning streak, drub RoI by 246 runs

Karnataka reign supreme
 It was quite apt that Manish Pandey fetched the moment of victory for Karnataka on a clement Friday evening.

Manish uprooted the stumps to catch Pragyan Ojha well short of the crease, signalling Karnataka’s 246-run win over Rest of India in the Irani Cup. It was also their second successive title treble, comprising Vijay Hazare Trophy, Ranji Trophy and the Irani Cup. Only Mumbai had managed the feat in the past.

On the fourth day, Karnataka were all out for 422, setting Rest of India a victory target of 403. They didn’t come anywhere close, getting bowled out for 156 in 43.3 overs and handing Karnataka a delightful Ugadi gift.

Barring a hundred in the league phase of the Ranji Trophy, Manish had not exactly set this season ablaze and he chose a perfect occasion to highlight his prowess. The redemption act started in the morning session. He was on 73 and Karnataka were on 341 for six, ahead by 321 runs.

Manish started in a rather sedate fashion in the company of R Vinay Kumar, but reached the three-figure mark in a flashing manner. The right-hander took apart Varun Aaron, the quickest bowler from either camp, with utter disdain. He started with a six – a ramp shot over third man — and followed it up with a swat over square leg for four. A pulled six over mid-wicket and a four, carved past the point fielder, brought him close and a chip shot for two carried him past the hundred.

Manish punched the air, hugged his partner A Mithun, also a close pal of his, and soaked in the applause from the dressing room and the stands. Manish amassed 22 runs in that over, and Aaron looked crestfallen after getting carted around like an amateur.

He remained unbeaten on 123 and by the time HS Sharath, the last Karnataka batsman, was dismissed they had amassed a formidable total. If Manish atoned for his past failures with a hundred, the Karnataka bowlers appeared a relentless force that swept away everything in front it. Mithun provided the initial spark with a three-wicket burst. Unmukt Chand appeared as clueless as a kid trying to get out of a maze against the Karnataka pacer. His five-minute torture eventually ended when a clay-footed batsman edged Mithun to Robin Uthappa behind the stumps.

Paras Dogra too was guilty of not moving his feet as Mithun crashed through his defence. But the bigger blow was just round the corner. Naman Ojha was one batsman who could have offered some fight. But the Madhya Pradesh wicketkeeper-batsman lasted just two balls, nibbling Mithun to Uthappa.

In the blink of an eye, Rest had slipped eight for three in four overs, and the writing on the wall was palpable. Jiwanjot Singh and skipper Manoj Tiwary tried to resist the Karnataka bowlers. But there was no freebie for them. They had to earn each and every run the hard way.

They added 55 runs in 19.5 overs, but Sharath provided the breakthrough with the wicket of Jiwanjot, and S Arvind jettisoned Tiwary to reduce Rest to 65 for five. It was a fitting tribute to the efficiency of Karnataka bowlers to make an impact even on this M Chinnaswamy Stadium pitch that hid no demons in it.

There was a brief passage when Kedar Jadhav, who made a quick 56 off 48 balls, and Jayant Yadav milked 48 runs off 63 balls to delay the inevitable. It, then, was time for the fifth member of this enviable Karnataka attack to step in. Shreyas Gopal has been the breakthrough-providing bowler for Karnataka the whole season and he did precisely that here too. The leg-spinner dismissed Jadhav, Yadav, Rishi Dhawan and Shardul Thakur in the space of six overs, ensuring no late order heroics from the Rest.

A few moments later Pandey made his presence felt once again with a run out as Karnataka players fell into a celebratory mood.

Score board

KARNATAKA (I Innings): 244 all out
REST OF INDIA (I Innings): 264 all out
KARNATAKA (II Innings, O/n: 341/6): Manish Pandey (not out) 123 (287m, 164b, 12x4, 3x6), Shreyas Gopal c N Ojha b Dhawan 0 (6m, 4b), R Vinay Kumar c N Ojha b Thakur 38 (108m, 77b, 6x4), A Mithun b Thakur 10 (21m, 12b, 1x4), S Arvind lbw Thakur 4 (7m, 4b, 1x4), HS Sharath c Dogra b Thakur 5 (18m, 16b); Extras (B-5, LB-4, W-7) 16, Total (all out, 110.3 overs) 422

Fall of wickets: 1-54 (Agarwal), 2-105 (Reddy), 3-121 (Uthappa), 4-182 (Samarth), 5-288 (Karun), 6-289 (Shreyas), 7-354 (Vinay), 8-390 (Mithun), 9-408 (Arvind).

Bowling: Rishi Dhawan 21-1-74-1 (w-2), Varun Aaron 27-4-131-2 (w-5), Shardul Thakur 29.3-6-86-5, Pragyan Ojha 28-3-100-2, Jayant Yadav 4-0-16-0, Manoj Tiwary 1-0-6-0.

REST OF INDIA (II Innings): Jiwanjot Singh c Reddy b Sharath 38 (102m, 78b, 5x4), Unmukt Chand c Uthappa b Mithun 1 (5m, 5b), Paras Dogra b Mithun 0 (3m, 2b), Naman Ojha c Uthappa b Mithun 0 (9m, 2b), Manoj Tiwary b Arvind 24 (77m, 61b, 3x4), Kedar Jadhav c Reddy b Shreyas 56 (87m, 48b, 6x4, 3x6), Jayant Yadav lbw Shreyas 10 (38m, 33b, 2x4), Rishi Dhawan lbw Shreyas 10 (8m, 8b, 2x4), Shardul Thakur b Shreyas 5 (8m, 8b, 1x4), Varun Aaron (not out) 10 (15m, 14b, 2x4), Pragyan Ojha (run out) 0 (4m, 1b); Extras (B-2) 2, Total (all out, 43.3 overs) 156

Fall of wickets: 1-2 (Chand), 2-2 (Dogra), 3-8 (N Ojha), 4-63 (Jiwanjot), 5-65 (Tiwary), 6-113 (Yadav), 7-125 (Dhawan), 8-133 (Thakur), 9-152 (Jadhav).

Bowling: Vinay Kumar 12-2-34-0,  Mithun 10-2-40-3, Sharath 6-1-16-1, S Arvind 9.3-3-25-1,  Gopal 6-0-39-4.
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