Karnataka's inability to polish off line-ups a worry

Karnataka's inability to polish off line-ups has hurt them

Karnataka skipper Karun Nair said his team must learn to maintain sustained pressure on the oppositions. DH FILE PHOTO

Karnataka have a predicament. No, it’s not their fragile batting in the absence of national-duty-bound players or the lack of a quality spinner worth his salt we’re talking about. 

While the other two aspects have hounded them significantly over the course of this Ranji Trophy season, their inability to go through an opponent’s line-up in one swift curve of the scythe has been a bugbear. 

In each of the six games they have played thus far, Karnataka have erred in allowing middle-order or lower middle-order batsmen settle in for extended periods. It’s a condition which has plagued them in the past too - none can forget the 392-run eighth-wicket alliance between Amit Mishra and Jayant Yadav for Haryana in 202 - but it has never shown up as consistently in a season. 

While the case presented itself jarringly in their games against Saurashtra and Himachal Pradesh where they lost the innings lead, it was visible in smaller samples against Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Mumbai and Railways too. 

They were able to defeat three out (excluding UP) of the aforementioned four teams to climb to fourth on the cross pool table, but the trend is a concern, and Karun Nair conceded it so. 

“I made it point that we sat down and spoke about,” reiterated Nair after the game against Railways last week. "We needed to be desperate, everyone, not just the bowlers and in any way you can. That’s where we slack. We pick up four, five wickets and then settle in. It’s important that we step it up once we have picked up a few wickets. We need to show more desperation. This has happened one too many times before. I thought this was a good time to make a point. We need all eleven to contribute and get those two wickets.”

Nair blew the bugle asking his team-mates to rise to the task, K Gowtham, while more relaxed in his delivery, insinuated the same, saying: “It is a bit of a concern. We need to break them (late partnerships) sooner. In the context of the last game, the wicket was a good one so it didn’t matter. We sometimes need to remember that the batsman is there to score runs. He has a job just as the bowlers do.”

True as that might be, Karnataka can’t deny that they have shown lack of planning against less established batters. Resting in-rhythm bowlers, ignoring the sanity of bringing in more fielders around the bat and a generally poor reading of the moments in a game have cost them.   

It might not hurt them as long as the wins keep coming but they’ll want to address the peculiar problem sooner than when/ if they knock on the doors the quarterfinals. They will know that the knockouts won’t give them as much a margin for error as they have benefitted from. 

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