Manish Pandey pulverises Chhattisgarh

Athletics world championships

Manish Pandey, Karnataka State Cricket team Captain in action, he score 142 runs, not out against Chhattisgarh State Cricket Sangh team at Vijay Hazare Trophy cricket at M Chinnaswamy Stadium Bengaluru on Wednesday. Photo by S K Dinesh

Manish Pandey produced an innings of class as Karnataka bounced back after a humbling defeat to register a 79-run victory over Chhattisgarh in their Group A Vijay Hazare Trophy game here at the M Chinnaswamy stadium on Wednesday.  

Pandey’s unbeaten 142 (118b, 5x4, 7x6) and his 150-run stand with openers K L Rahul (81, 103b, 6x4, 1x6) took Karnataka to 285/7 in 50 overs. A total of 300 or more was a possibility but once again Karnataka’s middle-order failed to fire, leaving Pandey with too much to do in the end.

In response, Chhattisgarh didn’t look like the team that stunned Mumbai by pulling off a chase of 318 runs. The visitors were never in control of their chase and folded for 206 to suffer their first defeat of the tournament. The Karnataka bowling, for the fourth straight game, was marked with discipline.

Shreyas Gopal (3/53) and M Prasidh Krishna (3/31) shared six wickets between them. The new-ball pace duo of Prasidh and V Koushik (1/35), who came in for the rested A Mithun, didn’t offer too many loose balls to straightway put the opposition under pressure. On a day when the Karnataka were sloppy on the field, wicketkeeper B R Sharath stood out. The youngster took a stunning high catch, running backwards and pouched another, diving in front.

Sitting atop Group A with 12 points from four games, Karnataka take on Andhra at the Just Cricket ground on October 7.

Earlier, Chhattisgarh dealt Karnataka a double blow, dismissing opener Devdutt Padikkal (8) and Karun Nair (1) cheaply. Padikkal edged to first slip while attempting an expansive drive while an incoming Puneet Datey delivery crashed through the gates of Nair.

At 25/2, Rahul and Pandey gave an exhibition of their quality to put Karnataka in a position of comfort. The right-handed duo chose the right deliveries to attack and rotated the strike well to ease to a 100-run stand in just 110 balls.

Rahul, who began with a cracking square-driven four, drove authoritatively and found the gaps. The classy opener, who slammed a century against Kerala in Karnataka’s second game, missed another ton that was surely for the taking. The 27-year-old danced down the track and chipped one straight to deep-midwicket off left-arm spinner Sumit Ruikar (1/65).

In Rahul’s company, Pandey was at his entertaining best. Starting off with a six over long on off medium pacer Shashank Singh (2/66), the Karnataka skipper swept Ruikar for a maximum to bring up his team’s hundred. After Rahul departed, Pandey, batting with his inexperienced team-mates, curbed his aggression to hold one end firm.

For someone always so busy at the crease, Pandey showed great responsibility by taking 68 singles and six twos in his innings. Karnataka’s final push lacked strength as wickets fell in regular intervals. Shreyas (11) and K Gowtham (4), the two bowling all-rounders in the side, failed while Abhishek Reddy (10), coming in for Praveen Dubey, fell for a nothing shot.

Pandey’s brilliance, however, gave Karnataka a strong total to fight for. He hammered Shashank for 20 runs in the final over. After fetching a four between the mid-wicket and mid-off fielders in the deep, Pandey sent a full toss over deep square leg. He followed it up with a superb six over long on and wrapped it up with two twos, enthralling the Gandhi Jayanti crowd.

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