Ranji Trophy QF: Shreyas virtually seals the deal for Karnataka

With a hefty lead of 224 at the start of the third day, all that Karnataka lower order required to do was to dig deep and rub the salt in Mumbai's wounds.

Shreyas Gopal plays a shot at the VCA Stadium in Nagpur on Saturday.   -  Prashant Nakwe

With a hefty lead of 224 at the start of the third day, all that Karnataka lower order required to do was to dig deep and rub the salt in Mumbai's wounds. The formidable outfit did it to precision, thanks to Shreyas Gopal’s unbeaten 150 and his valuable partnerships with the lower order to virtually ensure a place in the semi-final for his team.

Thanks to Shreyas’ monumental effort and his partnerships of 84 runs with R. Vinay Kumar, 73 with K. Gowtham and 92 with S. Arvind for the seventh, eighth and tenth wickets, respectively, Karnataka batted Mumbai out of the Ranji Trophy quarter-final by putting on a gargantuan total of 570 on the board.

The Karnataka bowlers then picked the top-three batsmen in Mumbai's line-up to virtually put an end to its campaign, with the 41-time champion team reduced to 120 for three at stumps at the Vidarbha Cricket Association stadium.

SCOREBOARD

Mumbai had a reason to smile at the start of the day with Akash Parkar plucking a sharp catch at mid-on off Shivam Malhotra's bowling in the fourth over of the morning to see Vinay's back. That didn't deter Shreyas from marching towards his fourth hundred. A streaky boundary off Akash Parkar at the stroke of the hour helped him overhaul the milestone. With Gowtham pulling and hooking the Mumbai pacers at will, Shreyas continued to play normally.

To compound Mumbai's misery, Shreyas was offered two lives—on 112 by Akhil Herwadkar running in from square-leg off Dhawal Kulkarni and on 123 when captain Aditya Tare missed a stumping off left-arm slow bowler Karsh Kothari. Kulkarni's unlucky toil was finally over when Gowtham pulled one straight to Siddhesh Lad at deep mid-wicket. Next ball, Kulkarni shattered the stumps to dismiss Abhimanyu Mithun.

That brought on the last-man S. Arvind and the left-hander played some delightful drives en route his second first-class fifty and highest score before being bowled while attempting an extravagant swat off Malhotra soon after Mumbai opted for the third new ball.

READ: Vidarbha in complete control

Having conceded a huge lead, Mumbai had to try and bat as long as possible to at least save the ignominy of an innings defeat. Openers Prithvi Shaw and Jay Bista started off against Vinay and Mithun on a confident note but the change of bowler soon worked at both ends. Bista misread the line of a straight one from offie Gowtham – his first ball – to be bowled. In the next over, Shaw shouldered one from left-armer Arvind without covering his off-stump to see the off-stump being uprooted.

Akhil Herwadkar and Suryakumar Yadav then played sensibly for most of the last session. Yadav went after leggie Shreyas Gopal, hitting him for a dazzling six over extra-cover and then sweeping him for two fours in the next over. Just when Mumbai headed towards batting out a wicket-less session, Herwadkar offered catching practice to Kaunain Abbas at mid-wicket off Gowtham to put Mumbai in a deeper hole.

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