Dominant Karnataka complete formalities

Dominant Karnataka complete formalities

It took just an hour on the fourth and final day for Karnataka to complete the formalities here at the SDNRW stadium.

Trailing by 155 runs with four wickets in hand, Assam stared down the barrel on the third day of the Ranji Trophy match. Expectedly, Gokul Sharma’s men couldn’t prevent the inevitable as Karnataka scripted a huge innings and 121 runs victory.

Resuming from 169/6, the visitors folded for 203 as Karnataka started their season with a bang. Skipper R Vinay Kumar ran through the tail and emerged as the most successful bowler in the Assam second innings with figures of 4/31. Abhimanyu Mithun (3/47) and K Gowtham (3/39) were in their elements in the eight-time champions’ convincing show.

Gowtham enjoyed a fine game and his all-round effort, which included a century (149) and a seven-wicket haul for the match, earned him the player of the match award. Karnataka, who earned seven points from this match, next take on Hyderabad in Shivamogga from October 24 to 27.

Gokul, easily the best batsman of the game for Assam in this encounter, didn't last long on the final day. Following his 55 in the first hit, the skipper had slammed a measured 62 on Monday. However, Gokul’s stay on Tuesday was cut short by his opposite number. In the fifth over of the day, Gokul dragged a short delivery from Vinay on to his stumps to depart for 66. Vinay ensured the other overnight batsman Abu Nechim (17) soon followed Gokul to the pavilion.

Gokul’s departure all but sealed the deal for Karnataka. The pace duo of Mithun and Vinay bowled right on the money to trouble the lower order. Hitting the deck hard, Mithun’s bouncer-laden overs were too hot to handle for the batsmen. Wicketkeeper-batsman Wasqiur Rahman (4) braved a knee injury to come out to bat but was trapped in front by Mithun. Last man Rahul Singh edged one to the wicketkeeper off Vinay to bring an end to the contest.

Karnataka, who were keen to start well in the tournament, achieved their initial goal and Vinay was a happy man. “It’s always good to start the season with a bonus point. If you look back, we had a bad start in 2015-16 when we conceded innings lead to Assam in the season opener. That really backfired on us. There was a rain threat for this match but we were lucky to get a full game,” he said.

The pace battery, one of the key weapons in Karnataka’s armoury, was at its best in this game. “The pacers play a crucial role. Most of the grounds have sand-based outfield which puts more load on the hamstring. This time we are making sure we bowl less in the nets to keep ourselves fresh for the matches,” he explained.

Vinay heaped praise on Gowtham. “He is an amazing cricketer and we need to take care of him. My decision to send him up the order worked. He is a fearless cricketer and I might send him to bat at the same slot in future as well,” he offered.

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