Vijay Hazare Trophy: Karnataka snatches a thriller against Hyderabad

Karnataka, which was struggling at 65 for eight in the 17th over, banked on Vinay Kumar’s pragmatic batting to experience a fine recovery and get the winning runs in the 30th over.

Vinay, who returned following a layoff due to a leg injury, enjoyed the challenge as Karnataka needed 44 runs with just two wickets in hand.   -  G. P. Sampath Kumar

Comeback man R. Vinay Kumar’s responsible knock, a 56-ball 35, aided Karnataka snatch a sensational one-wicket win over Hyderabad and advance to the quarterfinal of the Vijay Hazare Trophy at the Eden Gardens here on Saturday.

In a Group D between two unbeaten sides, Hyderabad struggled to score 108 in 44 overs after electing to bat on a pitch featuring small patches of grass and a few dents. In reply, Karnataka, which was struggling at 65 for eight in the 17th over, banked on Vinay’s pragmatic batting to experience a fine recovery and get the winning runs in the 30th over.

Hyderabad pacers, led by left-armer C. V. Milind, brilliantly exploited the natural variation offered by the track to rock the Karnataka top order. Milind, who accounted for Robin Uthappa cheaply, bowled K. Gowtham and Manish Pandey in consecutive deliveries of the seventh over.

Mohammad Siraj also hit the right areas to remove Aniruddha Joshi and Pavan Deshpande off successive deliveries. Later, he had Stuart Binny lbw. Ravi Kiran took two for 32.

Meanwhile, Mayank Agarwal (26 off 50 balls) was bowled while trying to cut left-arm spinner Mehdi Hasan too close to his body.

Vinay, who returned following a layoff due to a leg injury, enjoyed the challenge as Karnataka needed 44 runs with just two wickets in hand.

Vinay maintained his composure and guided his lower order colleagues, Sreenath Aravind and Prasidh M. Krishna, to rotate the strike and hit six fours, including four in the ‘V’.

The experienced all-rounder showed his presence of mind to protect Prasidh and gather 28 runs for the last wicket as Hyderabad could not sustain the pressure.

“Being a senior player, I always look for this kind of opportunities. I made sure that I remain there till the end and helped our team win,” said Vinay.

Earlier, Karnataka seamers’ excelled collectively and its fielders made two run outs to keep Hyderabad batsmen in check. Captain S. Badrinath’s laborious 60-ball 18 and Akash Bhandari’s 43-ball 17 exemplified Hyderabad’s slow progress.

Gowtham pounced on the opportunity to vary his pace and bowl with accuracy to claim his career best figures of five for 28. Badrinath was adjudged caught behind, Bhandari, B. Anirudh and Siraj were stumped and Hasan was caught and bowled in the off-spinner’s eight overs.

Hyderabad will have to win its last group outing against Services to qualify for the knockout stage.

The scores:

Hyderabad 108 in 44 overs (K. Gowtham five for 28) lost to Karnataka 109 for nine in 29.2 overs (R. Vinay Kumar 35 n.o., Mayank Agarwal 26, Mohd. Siraj three for 24, C.V. Milind three for 42); Toss: Hyderabad, chose to bat; Points: Hyderabad 0 (16), Karnataka 4 (20).

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