Mushtaq Ali Trophy: Disciplined Services ambush shaky Karnataka

Services tamed a star-studded Karnataka by three wickets, flagging off an interesting start to the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy interstate T20 group-D league here, at the Barabati Stadium, on Saturday. The other cricketing powerhouse of the country Mumbai made a perfect start, downing host Odisha by six wickets whereas Uttar Pradesh got the better of Maharashtra by seven wickets, in the three matches scheduled in the day.

Karnataka, which boasted of host of national team players such as Robin Uthappa, sputtered from the start and fought their way to a fighting total of 121 for nine.   -  M. A. Sriram

Services tamed a star-studded Karnataka by three wickets, flagging off an interesting start to the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy interstate T20 group-D league here, at the Barabati Stadium, on Saturday. The other cricketing powerhouse of the country Mumbai made a perfect start, downing host Odisha by six wickets whereas Uttar Pradesh got the better of Maharashtra by seven wickets, in the three matches scheduled in the day. All the three teams batting first lost their matches making it an interesting statistic.

The feature of the day was the way Services cast aside its underdog status to stupefy Karnataka, which boasted of host of national team players. Put in to bat, Karnataka sputtered from the start as opener Mohammad Taha, a newcomer in the side, lasted only two balls before he was scalped by the Services pacer Raushan Raj. Mayank Agarwal and Robin Uthappa sought to accelerate the Karnataka innings after the initial blow.

Wickets galore

However, Raj got Agarwal (16) edging one to wicketkeeper Nakul Verma to end the second-wicket partnership of 38 runs before it could spell further danger. Uthappa (22) was the next to go, starting a procession to the dugout as Karnataka was reduced to 71 for six in the 12th over. Karnataka captain Vinay Kumar stemmed the slide with a doughty effort, pairing in a 44-run partnership for the seventh wicket with young left-arm spinner J. Suchith. Kumar, who top scored with 38 (40b, 3x4), helped Karnataka reach a fighting total of 121 for nine.

Chasing the target Services suffered early damages as young leg-spinner K. C. Cariappa picked up two quick wickets – Devender Lohchab and Nakul Verma - bowling the sixth over. Suchith next castled Rajat Paliwal with a fantastic delivery as Services sunk to 52 for three and slid further to 67 for five as Vinay Kumar and Taha ran out Services opener Aansul Gupta (27) and captain Soumya Ranjan Swain (2) with two nice efforts.

It looked Karnataka’s match from this stage but Yashpal Singh (25) and Sumit Singh (20) paired in a 32-run partnership for the sixth wicket to turn things around for Services. After their dismissal Avishek Sinha and Raushan Raj picked up the required 17 runs in the 19th over where Vinay Kumar conceded three boundaries to end Karnataka’s hopes.

Mumbai bowlers deliver

Mumbai rode on an all-round bowling success to make short work of host Odisha. Dhawal Kulkarni, Shardul Thakur, Rohan Raje, Abhishek Nayar and Pravin Tambe – the five bowlers Mumbai used – picked up two wickets each to restrict Odisha, who were asked to bat first, to 91 in 17.4 overs. The match was reduced to an 18-over affair as fog and overcast conditions forced a delayed start.

Mumbai captain Aditya Tare, who is looking regain a place in the IPL after being released by Mumbai Indians, struck a confident 32 (33b, 5x4) and stitched a 47-run partnership for the fourth wicket with Siddhesh Lad (31 n.o.) to set Mumbai on course to victory. The other match at DRIEMS ground, Tangi, saw a fog-truncated 12-over affair where Uttar Pradesh showed better application in batting to easily overhaul the target of 110 set by Maharashtra.

>Karnataka v Services (Full scorecard and ball-by-ball details)

>Mumbai v Odisha (Full scorecard and ball-by-ball details)

>Maharashtra v UP (Full scorecard and ball-by-ball details)