Karnataka aims to dominate Odisha

A win against Odisha will seal the quarterfinal spot for Karnataka, who's been on a roll this season with four outright wins in five games.

karnataka

Karnataka, led by R. Vinay Kumar (foreground), is enjoying a great run in this Ranji Trophy season.   -  K. Bhagya Prakash

After last year's setback, Karnataka is on a roll in the 2016-17 Ranji Trophy season. Four outright wins in five games has put the former champion atop Group B with 29 points and on course to sail into the knockouts.

Another win against fifth-placed Odisha in the seventh round of the tournament, beginning at the Services Sports Complex ground here on Monday, will seal its quarterfinal spot. The last time the teams met, Karnataka won by an innings and 64 runs in Mysore.

R. Vinay Kumar's team has been moving like a well-oiled machine, every part working flawlessly.

Barring opener R. Samarth's 235 in the team's opening encounter against Jharkhand, no batsman figures among the top-10 high scores. Yet, every batsman has contributed on different occasions. When the top order faltered against Vidarbha, Vinay Kumar came good with the bat.

The bowling unit is formidable with pacers Vinay Kumar and Sreenath Aravind and spinners K. Gowtham and Shreyas Gopal. Aravind, with 22 scalps in four games, is the team's leading wicket-taker.

"This was not planned, it just happened but we are happy that everyone is contributing the team's success," says coach J. Arun Kumar, "Last season's disappointment made us all sit down and talk about it and decide that everyone had to take responsibility in the middle, specially the senior players.

"Complacency has to be kept away and that's why we are looking at this game purely as an important match and not thinking of the knockouts. The slightest of dips even now can upset the momentum," he added.

Odisha, meanwhile, has had a contrasting season with four of its five games ending in draws. With 12 points in five games, it hasn't been able to dominate, managing one point in three of its matches.

The teams:

Karnataka: R. Vinay Kumar (captain), Mayank Agarwal, R. Samarth, Robin Uthappa, Stuart Binny, C.M. Gautam, Shreyas Gopal, S. Arvind, K. Gowtham, Kaunain Abbas, Ronit More, Arjun Hoysala, Abrar Kazi, Pawan Deshpande, David Mathias, Prasidh Krishna.

Odisha: Govinda Poddar (captain), Basant Mohanty, Biplab Samantaray, Deepak Behera, Dhiraj Singh, Suryakant Pradhan, Abinash Saha, Saurabh Rawat, Subhransu Senapati, Abhishek Yadav, Sandeep Pattanaik, Halhadar Das, Pratik Das, Ranjit Singh, Anurag Sarangi, Alok Chandra Sahoo.