Ranji Trophy: An innings victory for Karnataka against Assam

R. Vinay Kumar's men wrapped things up without fuss or complaint on Tuesday morning, dismissing the four remaining Assam batsmen in an hour to complete victory by an innings and 121 runs.

Karnataka captain picked up six wickets in the match.   -  M.A. SRIRAM

Karnataka may have been guilty of starting previous Ranji Trophy campaigns sluggishly, but there can be no such accusation this time. R. Vinay Kumar's men wrapped things up without fuss or complaint on Tuesday morning, dismissing the four remaining Assam batsmen in an hour to complete victory by an innings and 121 runs at the SDNRW ground here. The captain claimed three of those wickets himself, as Karnataka earned seven points to move to second spot in Group A.

"It's always good to start the season with a bonus point," Vinay said later. "If you look back, we had a bad start in the 2015-16 season where we conceded an innings lead against Assam in the opener. That really backfired. With that in mind, we wanted to start on a winning note. There was a threat of rain throughout, but we were lucky to get to play a full game. It was a great team effort."

VINAY KUMAR: 'RAHUL, KARUN'S RETURN WILL BE A BIG BOOST

The return of K.L. Rahul and Karun Nair to Karnataka's Ranji Trophy team will put opponents under pressure, believes captain R. Vinay Kumar. Rahul and Nair, both of whom are part of the Board President's XI side facing New Zealand in two warm-up games in Mumbai, will play in Karnataka's second Ranji Trophy fixture, against Hyderabad in Shivamogga from October 24-27. “Having Rahul and Karun is a big boost for Karnataka,” Vinay said here on Tuesday. “Rahul has cemented his place in the Indian team while Karun is also doing well. The sight of their names on the team sheet will put opponents under pressure.”

The presence of J. Arunkumar, who until last season was coaching Karnataka, in the Hyderabad camp would make things interesting, Vinay felt. “He knows the team inside out; he knows how we operate. And I know how he operates. It will be a good test,” he said.

Meanwhile, D. Nischal and Abhishek Reddy have been released from the senior team and will now join the State U-23 side.

Karnataka team against Hyderabad: R. Vinay Kumar (cat.), R. Samarth, K.L. Rahul, Karun Nair, Mayank Agarwal, Mir Kaunain Abbas, Pavan Deshpande, C.M. Gautam, Stuart Binny, K. Gowtham, A. Mithun, S. Arvind, Shreyas Gopal, J. Suchith and Sharath Srinivas.


It took Karnataka all of 23 minutes on the fourth and final morning to break Gokul Sharma's resistance. The Assam captain dragged Vinay Kumar onto the stumps on 66, having added four runs to his overnight score. Abu Nechim Ahmed was caught behind and Wasiqur Rahman, who eventually walked out to bat, was out leg-before to Abhimanyu Mithun.

Arup Das provided some entertainment, wearing one on the ribs from Mithun before smacking him for six next ball. Words were exchanged but it was all going to be irrelevant. Vinay swiftly brought the curtains down on the show, removing Rahul Singh to finish with four for 31. From 169 for six overnight, Assam had collapsed to 203 all out.

K. Gowtham was declared man-of-the-match, for his swashbuckling 149 and his seven for 59 (match figures) with the ball. "He is an amazing cricketer; we need to take care of him really well," Vinay said. "He can bat, bowl and field. My decision to send him in to bat at No. 5 worked really well. He is a fearless cricketer, a chilled-out guy. I might send him in to bat at the same slot in the next games. Hopefully he does well and plays for India very soon."

Karnataka will next face Hyderabad in Shivamogga, from October 24-27.

SCORECARD

Assam 145 and 203 in 73.1 overs (Gokul Sharma 66, Sibsankar Roy 44; R. Vinay Kumar four for 31) lost to Karnataka 469 for seven decl. in 126.4 overs (K. Gowtham 149, R. Samarth 123; Arup Das four for 113)

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