Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy: Karnataka's quarterfinal hopes dwindle despite win

Karnataka defeated Railways at the Alur Grounds, but the two-wicket victory that came with two balls to spare left its net run rate way below Elite Group A leader Punjab.

Devdutt Padikkal scored 37 in Karnataka's match against Railways.   -  SUDHAKARA JAIN

Karnataka’s hopes of qualifying for the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy quarterfinals took another beating on Saturday.

The defending champion defeated Railways at the Alur Grounds, but the two-wicket victory that came with two balls to spare left its net run rate (+0.259) way below Elite Group A leader Punjab’s (+2.814) and significantly lower than four other teams’ from groups B and C with which it is tied on points (12) and wins (3) after four matches.

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Five Elite group winners and the Plate group topper will qualify directly, while the remaining spots will be filled by the two best teams from across the Elite groups, decided on the basis of points, wins, head-to-head and net run rate, in that order. Karnataka will need a massive win against Uttar Pradesh in its last match on Monday and other results to go its way to stay in the hunt.

After choosing to bat, Railways rode on a 94-run second-wicket partnership between Pratham Singh (41, 43b, 4x4, 1x6) and Shivam Chaudhary (48, 39b, 3x4, 3x6) and a late blitz by Harsh Tyagi (33 n.o., 16b, 4x4, 1x6) to make 152 for five. Karnataka chased down the target with Anirudha Joshi (64 n.o., 40b, 3x4, 4x6) and Devdutt Padikkal 37 (32b, 3x4, 2x6) coming good.

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Even as opener Padikkal held one end up and was at the crease for half the chase, he didn’t find much support. Rohan Kadam was out for a 8-ball 14 while skipper Karun Nair’s wretched form continued as he was dismissed for 15. K.L. Shrijith and Pravin Dubey were both out for first ball ducks as Karnataka was reduced to 75 for five with T. Pradeep (3/19) – formerly of Karnataka – and Shivendra Singh (2/33) sharing the spoils.

Dhrushant Soni then scalped three lower-order wickets of Shreyas Gopal, K. Gowtham and A. Mithun to leave Karnataka at 134 for eight, still needing 19 runs from 13 balls. But Joshi led his side home by clubbing three sixes, the second of which was to level scores and the final one to win the match.

Brief scores:

Railways 152/5 (Shivam Chaudhary 48, Pratham Singh 41; Prasidh Krishna 2/25) lost to Karnataka 158/8 (Aniruddha Joshi 64 not out, Devdutt Padikkal 37; Dhrushant Soni 3/28) by two wickets.

Jammu and Kashmir 139/8 (Shubham Pundir 42, Qamran Iqbal 27; Siddarth Kaul 4/33) lost to Punjab 140/0 (Abhishek Sharma 73 not out, Smiran Singh 59 not out; Ram Dayal 0/22) by 10 wickets.

Tripura 122/6 (Milind Kumar 48, Manisankar Murasingh 17;Shanu Saini 2/16) lost to Uttar Pradesh 123/1 (Karan Sharma 68 not out, Suresh Raina 36 not out; Ajoy Sarkar 1/29) by nine wickets.

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