Ranji Trophy: Padikkal, Nischal take Karnataka home

PROMISING: Karnataka opener Devdutt Padikkal slammed a crucial 77 in the second innings against Maharashtra in Mysuru. DH PHOTO/SAVITHA BR

Highly rated teenager Devdutt Padikkal gave a good account of his talent as Karnataka completed a comprehensive seven-wicket defeat of Maharashtra in their Ranji Trophy Group 'A' encounter here on Saturday.

The debutant, after having fluffed the lines in the first innings, cracked a superb 128-ball 77 (11x4, 1x6) as Karnataka (184/3 in 70.2 overs) coasted home 45 minutes after lunch at the SDNRW ground. Karnataka thus took their tally to 12 points while Maharastra are on four after three games each.

Resuming at 54/0 and still 130 runs needed for victory, Karnataka needed one of the two openers to get going in order to keep the scoreboard ticking and not be drawn into a shell that could have been disastrous. Padikkal, just 18 years old and coming on the back of good form in the Col CK Nayudu Trophy, took it upon himself to be the aggressor while his partner D Nischal (61, 212b, 4x4) dropped anchor.

Padikkal didn’t go bang-bang from the onset. He took his time initially, playing defensively but confidently in the opening half-hour when conditions were helpful for pacers. He treated veteran seamers Anupam Sanklecha and Samad Fallah with respect before switching gears when part-time off-spinner Chirag Khurana and left-arm orthodox spinner Satyajeet Bachhav were introduced.

The lanky southpaw, a first year BBA student of St Joseph’s College of Commerce, used his feet brilliantly to both Khurana and Bachhav, often getting to the pitch off the ball and easily depositing them for boundaries. A huge fan of Gautam Gambhir, Padikkal also played some eye-catching straight drives to put Karnataka on the ascendency. The teenager also impressed with his shot selection, showing plenty of maturity for a player of his age.

Runs started coming at a fair clip and a century also seemed on the anvil for Padikkal. But the smell of milestone and rush of blood cost him a deserved ton. Having already creamed a boundary straight over the umpire, Padikkal tried to replicate the same two balls later. He attempted a big shot but this time failed to clear mid-on fielder Khurana. Padikkal trudged off disappointingly, amidst cheers from the crowd and his team-mates.

Some artificial excitement was injected when KV Siddharth lasted mere 10 balls, succumbing while trying to be too adventurous. Still 53 runs adrift and another eight wickets in hand, Karnataka knew they were well ahead and had to just play normal cricket to cross the line.

The ever-composed Nischal and Kaunain Abbas, making a comeback thanks to star players busy on national duty, did just that. Maharashtra, in a bid to force the issue and score an improbable win, appealed vehemently and needlessly, eliciting plenty of boos from the crowd. They tried to create some artificial pressure but Nischal and Abbas were game for it.

Nischal continued to hold his end very tightly while Abbas showed a rarely seen big-hitting side of him. Every time Maharashtra tried to increase the pressure, he would hammer a six or a four to calm the tension. Nischal fell in sight of the target but Abbas carried the hosts home in resounding fashion.

SCORE BOARD

MAHARASHTRA (I Innings): 113.

KARNATAKA (I Innings): 186.   

MAHARASHTRA (II Innings): 256.

KARNATAKA (II Innings, O/n: 54/0): Devdutt Padikkal c Khurana b Bachhav 77 (171m, 128b, 11x4, 1x6), D Nischal b Khurana 61 (249m, 212b, 4x4), KV Siddharth c Gaikwad b Bachhav 4 (19m, 10b), Kaunain Abbas (not out) 34 (73m, 62b, 3x4, 2x6), Pavan Deshpande (not out) 6 (14m, 11b, 1x4). Extras (NB-1, W-1) 2. Total (for 3 wkts, 70.2 overs) 184.

Fall of wickets: 1-121 (Padikkal), 2-131 (Siddharth), 3-170 (Nichal).

Bowling: Anupam Sanklecha 7-0-27-0, Samad Fallah 13-8-21-0, Nikit Dhumal 3-0-16-0, Chirag Khurana 19.2-3-53-1, Satyajit Bachhav 24-8-56-2, Swapnil Gugale 4-0-11-0. 

Result: Karnataka beat Maharashtra by 7 wickets.

Karnataka next play Saurashtra at Rajkot from Dec 6-9. 

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Ranji Trophy: Padikkal, Nischal take Karnataka home

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