Deodhar Trophy: All-round Karnataka sails into final

Karnataka put up yet another commanding performance on Tuesday, beating India A by 65 runs to sail into the finals of Deodhar Trophy 2018.

Karnataka players celebrate after Shreyas Gopal picks up a wicket.   -  R.V. Moorthy

A breezy start from Prithvi Shaw combined with a flourishing partnership between Unmukt Chand and Ishan Kishan raised India A's hopes albeit briefly. In the end, all-round Karnataka secured its place in the final. For Karnataka, K Gowtham was the pick of the bowlers, returning figures of 4 for 52.  Karnataka will square off against India B in Dharamsala on Thursday.

It's a procession out on the 22 yards. One batsman follows the other; Nadeem takes the long walk back to the dressing room.

India A unravelling in Dharamsala. Two wickets for Gowtham as Bhui and Yadav depart in quick succession to leave India A reeling at 266/7.

That should settle the debate. Ishan Kishan is out and it's More, who was having a torrid evening with the ball util now, who has got the big fish. Looks like Karnataka will be playing India B in the final unless there's one final twist left in the tale. India A 260/5

Gone. Bawne walks, Gowtham has his first wicket. And is that game, set and 'qualificaion' for Karnataka? India A 237/4.

India A needs 132 off 64 to qualify for the final.

30 Overs: India A 209/3

The wicket of Chand may have calmed Nair's tangling nerves for now. But the Chand-Kishan duo has brought India A back into contention. It'll be interesting to see captain Bawne's approach here - will he use the long handle or play the anchor and let Kishan, who has racked up his fifty, do all the hitting? There's Suryakumar Yadav and Ricky Bhui to follow, so India A has the firepower to chase down the total. India A needs 131 runs to win.

Prasidh strikes with the first over of his new spell, and it's that man Chand. Nair will heave a sigh of relief; Chand was threatening to take the game away. What a knock under pressure!

25 Overs: India A 173/2

Ronit More is having an average day with the ball; Kishan and Chand, though, aren't complaining. The runs are coming for India A but it has to chase down the target in a little less than 41 overs to book a place in the finals. Chand (71*) is playing a gem of an innings but needs to convert this into a big score for his team's sake. Kishan gave Deshpande a taste of his own medicine when he gathered three back-to-back boundaries off the off-spinner. The partnership is 58 off 49 deliveries.

The chase is well and truly underway in Dharamsala!

20 Overs: India A 134/2

Both U-19 stars, Shaw and Gill, getting starts but not converting them. In the meantime, Chand has brought up his half-century off 46 balls; a crucial one in the context of this match. But Karnataka has its nose in front, after those two wickets. Can Ishan Kishan and Chand stitch a partnership here?

Gill has smacked a long hop straight down Deshpande's throat! Shreyas Gopal has his first wicket. India A 115/2.

15 Overs: India A 99/1

Prithvi Shaw threw his wicket away after getting India A off to a flying start and the onus is now on fellow opener Chand, who is looking in fine touch, to keep up with the asking rate. He has, for company, India U-19 vice-captain Shubman Gill, who'll be itching to prove his mettle after failing to deliver in the first game. Karnataka has turned to spin; with leggie Shreyas Gopal and off-spinner K Gowtham operating in tandem.

And there it is! Shaw fails to convert yet another start, R More gets his first wicket. India A 73/1.

10 Overs: India A 73/0

This is turning out to be a promising start from Shaw. India A is going at seven runs an over but more importantly, it hasn't lost a wicket yet. While Shaw has raced to 40, Chand (32) has upped the ante at the other end. The duo means business. Karnataka, meanwhile, still searching for its first wicket. The current run-rate is 7.3.

5 Overs: India A 32/0

Prithvi Shaw has made his intentions clear; he is going to take the attack to Karnataka instead of hanging back and letting the bowlers dictate the action. His three consecutive boundaries off T Pradeep in the first over has given India A just the start it was looking for. But can Shaw, who has been guilty of throwing his wicket away in the past, sustain this aggressive approach for long?

Prithvi Shaw and Chand are at the crease.  Pradeep T with the new ball.  India A needs to chase down the target in 40.4 overs to stand a chance of qualifying for the finals.

We'll be back with the run chase in some time.

R Samarth (85) and Pavan Deshpande (95) set the tone for a big total and cameos by C Gautam (49 off 26) and Stuart Binny (37 off 24) ensured Karnataka got to 339/4 in 50 overs; Shami bleeding 96 runs in his 10 overs. Karnataka scored 100 runs in the last 10 overs.

India A, whose batting looked undercooked in the first match against India B, will have to play out of its skin to stand a chance here.

45 Overs: Karnataka 272/4

Last five overs, India A has pulled things back - if you can call it that - with wickets of two set batsmen Samarth and Deshpande. That said, Karnataka is still on course for a score in excess of 300 unless something dramatic happens, and that can never be ruled out in this game, can it?

C Gautam and Stuart Binny are out in the middle.

Gone! Deshpande departs five shy of what would have been a fine hundred, Shami getting rid of the left-hander. Karnataka 267/4.

40 Overs: Karnataka 239/3

According to Murphy's law, "Anything that can go wrong will go wrong". And India A seems to be the living manifestation of it right now - misfields, a wicket off a no-ball and bowlers getting carted for boundaries.

Samarth (85) fell against the run of play but Deshpande (84*) continues to toy with the bowlers. The latter ruined Yadav's figures, scything him for two sixes and a four in the 38th over. Yadav's last three overs went for 35 runs. Only Nadeem and Thampi have gone for less than five runs an over so far.

Suffice to say, the wheels have come off India A's bowling. The likes of Prithvi Shaw and Shubman Gill will have to summon their U-19 World Cup form to keep india A alive in the tournament.

A wicket! Feels like an oasis in the middle of the desert but India A will lap it up. Samarth departs for 85. Karnataka 238/3.

35 Overs: Karnataka 193/2

Samarth and Deshpande are pressing their feet down on the accelerator; the latter notching up a half-century in 53 balls. With eight wickets in the bank, and the likes of K Gowtham and C Gautam still to come, the duo can afford the odd risk.

India A skipper Bawne's troubles are compounded by the lean spells from Khejroliya and India speedster Shami. Wickets - that's what India A needs in order to stop this innings from turning into a run 'feast'.

30 Overs: Karnataka 158/2

Deshpande flexed his muscles against Unmukt Chand first; hammering the off-spinner for a six and a four in the same over. Khejroliya, then, found himself at the receiving end, the southpaw smashing the left-arm seamer for two consecutive boundaries. He has upped the ante, has Deshpande.

Meanwhile, Samarth racked up his second half-century in as many games. And the partnership is now worth 51 off 61 deliveries. While Karnataka may look in charge here, another wicket and the momentum may shift again.

25 Overs: Karnataka 122/2

A quiet passage of play that, the last five overs yielding just 14 runs. Samarth needs to be there till the end, if karnataka is harbouring hopes of getting to the 300-run mark. For the time being, he looks solid as he inches towards yet another half-century.

This may seem like dejavu to Pavan Deshpande, who was only yesterday, involved in a crucial partnership with Samarth. Having missed out on his fifty then, he would be hoping to make the most of this opportunity.

20 Overs: Karnataka 108/2

Suryakumar Yadav got rid of Nair, the Karnataka skipper missing a lofted shot and Ishan Kishan behind the stumps doing the rest. The onus will be on Samarth who has barely put a foot wrong. That wicket, however, has created an opening for India A - how well it uses it depends on the bowlers and the fielders.

Nair and Samarth have put up 50 runs for the second wicket. Last five overs, Karnataka has scored 33 runs.

15 Overs: Karnataka 84/1

Khejroliya and Shahbaz Nadeem operating in tandem for India A, the former conceding 11 runs off one over. Samarth looks settled in the middle while Nair continues to grind it out.

Ankit Bawne will have his eyes on the prized wicket of Samarth. It's important, from India A's perspective, that Samarth doesn't replicate Tuesday night's performance. As for Nair, only time will tell if Shaw's drop in the first powerplay will cost India A dearly.  That said, going by its fielding in the first 15 overs, those chances may be few and far between, for now.

10 Overs: Karnataka 51/1

This has been a subdued start by Karnataka's lofty standards. Karun Nair looks out of place in the middle, the right-hander fishing at balls outside off-stump without any feet movement. Mayank Agarwal, on the other hand, continued to pick boundaries at regular intervals before a smart change of pace from Shami prised him into an early pull shot; the ball brushing the top edge en route to Ishan Kishan behind the stumps.

This is just what India A had hoped for; an early breakthrough. The focus now shifts to R Samarth, who led Karnataka's charge with a hundred in the last match. He's off to a brisk start having smashed two boundaries off one Shami over - one past cover and another behind square.

GONE! Shami strikes and it's the danger man Mayank Agarwal who departs for 22. Karnataka 31/1.

5 Overs: Karnataka 25/0

This is a steady start by Karnataka. Mayank Agarwal got off the mark with a boundary; may not have been the most aesthetically pleasing stroke, with the ball coming off the toe end of the bat but the in-form opener will take it.

At the other end, skipper Karun Nair offered a chance early in the innings, slicing a Basil Thampi delivery straight to backward point, where Prithvi Shaw timed his jump to perfection but couldn't latch onto it. Nair has looked edgy, having been struck on the helmet by a short ball from Shami. This is a crucial game for India A - it needs to win and win by a big margin to better that net run rate. 

Mayank Agarwal and Karun Nair to open the innings, Mohammed Shami with the new ball.

Ankit Bawne: We couldn't bat well in the last game, because of the overcast conditions the batsmen couldn't survive for long. Yes the net run-rate is going to be very important for us and that is why we would have bowled first anyway. Two changes - Unmukt in place of Krunal and Khejroliya comes in place of Saini.

Karun Nair: We're going to bat first. We'll try and put up a big score on the board and then back the bowlers to defend it. One change - More in for Mithun.

Meanwhile, Amol Muzumdar and Vijay Dahiya reckon it's a belter of a pitch in Dharamsala. Well, given the form Karnataka's top order has been in, India A will do well to pick early wickets else it could be staring at a target in excess of 250 here.

India A (Playing XI): Prithvi Shaw, Ishan Kishan(w), Shubman Gill, Unmukt Chand, Ankit Bawne(c), Suryakumar Yadav, Ricky Bhui, Shahbaz Nadeem, Basil Thampi, Kulwant Khejroliya, Mohammed Shami

Karnataka (Playing XI): Mayank Agarwal, Karun Nair(c), Ravikumar Samarth, Pavan Deshpande, CM Gautam(w), Stuart Binny, Shreyas Gopal, Krishnappa Gowtham, Prasidh Krishna, Pradeep T, Ronit More

TOSS UPDATE: Karnataka has won the toss and opted to bat first.

Hello and welcome to Sportstar's live coverage of the Deodhar Trophy.

India A will lock horns with Karnataka at the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Stadium in Dharamsala. While Karnataka will be buoyed by Monday night's win over India B, India A would be itching to get its name on the points tally; both Karnataka and India B have a win each.