Karnataka let Rajasthan off the hook

Karnataka let Rajasthan off the hook

CASTLED: Karnataka off-spinner K Gowtham celebrates after bowling Rajasthan's Rahul Chahar on the opening day of their Ranji Trophy quarterfinal at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru on Tuesday. DH Photo/ Srikanta Sharma R

On a day that witnessed many doughty performances, Karnataka, to some extent, outshone Rajasthan to leave the second day of their Ranji Trophy quarterfinal interestingly poised.

At the Chinnaswamy stadium on Tuesday, Karnataka’s inability to seize an important moment denied them day's complete honours. After skipper Manish Pandey opted to field, the contest appeared to move according to the script for the hosts. Courtesy a disciplined show with the ball, they reduced Rajasthan to 86/4 at lunch.

Early into the second session, Abhimanyu Mithun’s (3/48) clever piece of bowling gave Karnataka a great chance to take complete control of the proceedings. Mithun forced Salman Khan (7) to pull one straight to square leg fielder off the first ball of the 39th over. One ball later, he induced an edge off Rajesh Bishnoi Sr’s willow but wicketkeeper BR Sharath spilled a regulation catch. Rajasthan were 111/5 at that stage.

K Gowtham (3/54), though, soon left Rajasthan teetering at 135/6 after dismissing skipper Mahipal Lomror for an even 50. Karnataka had a chance to ram home the advantage but a fortuitous Bishnoi made most of his chance to slam a crucial 79 (119b, 10x4, 2x6) to help his side post a decent 224 all out. Karnataka were 12 for no loss at stumps.

Karnataka, many times in the recent past, have allowed the tail to wag. Bishnoi and Deepak Chahar’s (22, 52b, 2x4) battling stay in the middle in the second session was yet another familiar period of frustration for the hosts. Just when the surface turned less challenging to bat, Gowtham, a natural fighter, brought Karnataka back in the game.

Gowtham, slightly troubled by an ankle issue, had produced a beauty to bag his first wicket in the shape of Lomror (50, 133b, 7x4) with a ball that straightened a bit after pitching. Gowtham’s second scalp was a much required breakthrough for Karnataka as he trapped Deepak Chahar in front to end his 85-run seventh wicket stand with Bishnoi. Rajasthan couldn’t spring another rearguard act from 220/7 as they folded after adding just four runs.

Bishnoi, having failed to impress in the group stage, chose the right occasion to make a difference to his side. The right-hander didn’t hesitate to take risks and his method paid off. He slammed Gowtham for three fours in an over and then reached his half-century with a cracking square cut off Ronit More.

The post-tea session witnessed an interesting battle between Mithun and Bishnoi. The Karnataka pacer, unlucky to have missed out on dismissing Bishnoi early on, didn’t lose heart and continued to bowl with great energy. He came close to getting his man when he surprised Bishnoi with a bouncer which the right-hander top edged. Wicketkeeper BR Sharath produced a valiant attempt but failed to latch on to it.

Moments later, Bishnoi was hit hard on his forehead by a nasty bouncer from Mithun. The Rajasthan batsman showed great grit to bat on but it was the Karnataka veteran who finally had the last laugh. At 79, Bishnoi upper cut a short ball from Mithun only to see R Vinay Kumar take a brilliant running catch at third-man.



RAJASTHAN (I INNINGS): Amitkumar Gautam b Vinay 12 (31m, 18b, 2x4), Chetan Bist b Shreyas 39 (109m, 72b, 6x4, 1x6), Mahipal Lomror b Gowtham 50 (220m, 133b, 7x4), Robin Bist lbw Vinay 13 (21m, 18b, 3x4), Ashok Menaria lbw Shreyas 0 (5m, 4b), Salman Khan c More b Mithun 7 (49m, 35b), Rajesh Bishnoi c Vinay b Mithun 79 (171m, 119b, 10x4, 2x6), Deepak Chahar lbw Gowtham 22 (92m, 52b, 2x4), Rahul Chahar b Gowtham 0 (2m, 5b), Aniket Choudhary lbw Mithun 0 (4m, 4b), Tanveer-Ul-Haq (not out) 0 (5m, 3b) . Extras (LB-2) 2. Total (all out, 77.1 overs) 224.

Fall of wickets: 1-18 (Gautam), 2-64 (Chetan), 3-81 (Robin), 4-82 (Menaria), 5-111 (Salman), 6-135 (Lomror), 7-220 (D Chahar), 8-220 (R Chahar), 9-221 (Aniket).   

Bowling:  R Vinay Kumar 17-9-29-2, Abhimanyu Mithun 17.1-48-3, Ronit More 14-1-5-0, K Gowtham 16-3-54-3, Shreyas Gopal 13-2-41-2.

KARNATAKA (I INNINGS): R Samarth (batting) 7 (23m, 15b), D Nischal (batting) 5 (23m, 15b). Total (for no loss, 5 overs) 12.

Bowling: Deepak Chahar 2-1-2-0, Aniket Choudhary 2-0-4-0, Rahul Chahar 1-0-6-0.