Karnataka survive Dube assault

Karnataka survive Dube assault

Mumbai’s Shivam Dube celebrates his ton against Karnataka in Bengaluru on Thursday. DH Photos/ Srikanta Sharma R

Shivam Dube came up with a blistering hundred but Karnataka held their nerve to eke out a nine-run win over Mumbai in a high-scoring Vijay Hazare Trophy match (Elite Group A), maintaining their top position on the table with 20 points.

Having posted an impressive 312/7 after being put into bat first, Karnataka had the match in their grasp after K Gowtham (3/51) had punched a big hole in their middle-order here at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium on Thursday. Dube staged a counter-assault that had even the sparse home crowd cheering him. RCB had paid over Rs five crore to buy Dube in the IPL last auction and the left-hander showed just why he is so valued in the limited-over formats with a batting display that is seldom seen in domestic cricket (118, 67b, 7x4, 10x6).

Hitting most of his sixes in the ‘V’, Dube took almost all the bowlers to the cleaners despite battling cramps. Having brought his team within 36 runs from win, Dube fell to a hard-working A Mithun (3/40) while trying to clear long-on. While Shardul Thakur and Dhawal Kulkarni threatened to take Mumbai across, they eventually fell short.          

Karnataka were off to a great start with KL Rahul (58, 57b, 9x4) and Devdutt Padikkal (79, 85b, 10x4, 1x6) posting 137 runs for the opening wicket in just 134 balls. But a breakthrough from an unlikely bowler, triggered a sort of collapse. Siddesh Lad, brought into the attack as a desperate attempt to separate the opening pair, did just that when he induced a false shot from Rahul.

Young Padikkal fell soon to Shardul Thakur before Karun Nair was run out for four. From 137/0, Karnataka had slipped to 146/3 in a short period. Skipper Manish Pandey (62, 64b, 3x4, 2x6), however, continued his good run in the tournament with another brisk half-century – his fifth of the meet to go with a century. While no big score was coming from the rest of the middle and lower-middle order, Rohan Kadam (32 off 37), B R Sharath (28 off 25) and K Gowtham (22 n.o. off 13) produced useful cameos to take up the score past 300 and set Mumbai a stiff target.

And Karnataka appeared headed for a comfortable win when they left Mumbai reeling at 169 for six in the 31st over. Dube, though, was in no mood give up the chase easily. The big-hitting all-rounder pulled off one monster six after another as Mumbai rapidly chipped away at the target. While his first fifty came off 41 balls (3x4, 4x6), he raced to his second in mere 17 balls with half-a-dozen sixes and one four. Leg-spinner Shreyas Gopal, who has had an otherwise good tournament so far, came in for some special treatment as Dube kept launching him into the stands. Ronit More (78/1), too, had to bear the brunt of Dube’s fury.

With four overs left and 18 runs needed but the last pair in the middle for Mumbai, Pandey appeared to call Shreyas before he could employ the three pacers who all had one over left each. Given the kind of day that Shreyas had endured, it made little sense to press him at that stage. A bit of cajoling by Rahul, however, helped change Pandey’s mind. Prasidh Krishna (2/39) bowled a tight over and with 10 needed off two overs, Mithun had Dhawal Kulkarni caught beautifully by Nair, who back-peddled at least 10 metres before holding onto the catch.