Karnataka boss opening day

Karnataka boss opening day

R Vinay Kumar celebrated his 50th Ranji Trophy game as the captain of Karnataka team with a vintage bowling performance as his wards bossed the opening day of their Ranji Trophy encounter against Maharashtra here at the MCA Stadium on Wednesday.

After calling the coin right on a surface that had lots of juice at the start of the day, Vinay (6/59) extracted the maximum out of it with a mesmerising opening spell to completely blow away the hosts. Swinging the ball both ways, the veteran pacer continuously troubled the Maharashtra top-order batsmen who simply struggled to counter his brilliance.

The right-armer grabbed 4/36 in eight probing overs - first spell - to reduce the hosts to 28/5 by the 13th over. In complete disarray, Maharashtra then hit back through counter-attacking knocks from Rahul Tripathi (120, 114b, 13x4, 3x6) and Naushad Shaikh (69, 105b, 10x4) but the duo could only add some semblance of respectability as the hosts folded up for 245 in 55 overs.

Batting paradise

With the pitch turning into a batting paradise thereafter, Karnataka openers R Samarth (47 not out) and Mayank Agarwal (50 not out) combined aggression and caution to a nicety to help the visitors reach 117/0 in 31 overs.

Vinay, 33 years old, may have disappeared from the national radar but he's still one of the smartest operators in domestic cricket and he gave another demonstration of that on Tuesday. After moving the ball away the first three deliveries of the fifth over, he swung one back in to beat the defences of a totally outfoxed Swapnil Gugale.

Abhimanyu Mithun then took out Ruturaj Gaikwad before Vinay sent back Harshad Khadiwale with an unplayable delivery, the ball kicking off from good length and catching the batsman cold.

In-form Maharashtra skipper Ankit Bawne, often the tormentor for Karnataka, then fell while trying to flick an in-swinging Vinay delivery with Pavan Deshpande completing a brilliant low catch at gully. Wicketkeeper Rohit Motwani soon followed his captain to the dressing room, thanks to a stunning piece of catch from debutant D Nischal as Karnataka appeared to skittle Maharashtra for a cheap score.

Tripathi and Shaikh, however, refused to cave in and carted Karnataka bowlers to all parts of the park. With not much batting left, they chose to go all-out and their no-holds barred approach shocked Karnataka.

Both the batsmen were harsh on spinners K Gowtham and Deshpande, using their feet to unsettle them. Gowtham and Deshpande were also guilty of bowling poorly as they gifted one boundary ball every over, making life easy for Tripathi and Shaikh.

With things completely going their way, Tripathi and Shaikh continued to bat with gay abandon, hardly taking their feet off the accelerator. Karnataka, however, scalped Shaikh against the run of play to regain their hold on the contest after lunch. Tripathi though continued to play the big shots and brought up a well deserved century with a pull shot.

But once he perished after the ton, Maharashtra tail folded up quickly. Samarth and Agarwal then made hay in the warm evening sunshine, laying a strong foundation to heap more misery on Maharashtra.

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