Anmolpreet Singh's blazing ton punishes Karnataka

Heading into their last group stage encounter, both Punjab and Karnataka had no chance of qualifying for the knockout rounds.

Of Anmolpreet Singh's knock of 138, 78 runs came in boundaries.   -  Sudhakara Jain

An attacking century from Anmolpreet Singh powered Punjab past Karnataka by six wickets in the Vijay Hazare Trophy, at M. Chinnaswamy Stadium here on Monday.

Heading into their last group stage encounter, both Punjab and Karnataka had no chance of qualifying for the knockout rounds. Anmolpreet (138, 106b, 12x4, 5x6), Shubman Gill (77, 93b) and Siddharth Kaul (five for 41) ensured that Punjab ended its campaign on a winning note. Karnataka, on the other hand, slipped to a fourth defeat in eight matches.

Set a target of 297, Punjab was set on course by a 198-run opening stand from Anmolpreet and Shubman. Anmolpreet brought up his second successive hundred with a single through cover, and followed this up with a mighty six over mid-wicket.

Fan favourite Yuvraj Singh, batting at one-down, got into the action as well with a 60-ball 38. Yuvraj delighted the small crowd with a couple of typically powerful sixes, off Karnataka spinners Shreyas Gopal and J. Suchith.

Earlier, a lower-order collapse scuttled Karnataka’s hopes of making a match-winning total. The last six wickets fell for only 29 runs, leaving the door open for Punjab. The likes of R. Samarth (54), B.R. Sharath (70), Karun Nair (28), Manish Pandey (67) and Shreyas Gopal
(37) all chipped in, but they failed to make it count.

Karnataka coach Yere Goud explained that inconsistent batting led to Karnataka’s exit from the tournament. “We had only one hundred in six completed games (two matches were abandoned due to rain). It was due to lack of application. Most of them made twenties and thirties, but they did not convert these scores into big ones. Like for instance, if our guys had converted their scores today (against Punjab), we could have scored around 330-340,” Goud said.

The former Karnataka and Railways skipper added, “We have one month’s time to prepare for the Ranji Trophy. This is a wake-up call for us.”

Asked if younger players will be brought into the Ranji Trophy squad, Goud said, “We will have 2-day and 4-day selection games. Whoever does well will be picked.”

Mumbai, Delhi, Maharashtra, Andhra and Hyderabad – the top five teams respectively from Elite ‘A’ and Elite ‘B’ groups combined – entered the quarterfinals. Bihar (Plate group topper) has also sealed a knockout stage berth. Two more vacancies – on offer in Elite ‘C’ - will be filled after the completion of the group’s matches on Thursday. The last-eight round will commence here on October 14.

The scores:

Karnataka 296 in 48.2 overs (R. Samarth 54, B.R. Sharath 70, Karun Nair 28, Manish Pandey 67, Shreyas Gopal 37, Siddharth Kaul five for 41) lost to Punjab 297 for four in 48.5 overs (Anmolpreet Singh 138, Yuvraj Singh 38, Shubman Gill 77, Mandeep Singh 30)

Vidarbha 218 in 48.2 overs (Faiz Fazal 49, A. Taide 48, Ganesh Satish 45, Darshan Misal four for 52) bt Goa 217 for nine in 50 overs (Amit Verma 45, V.G. Kahlon 35, S.S. Prabhudesai 39, K. Snehal 32, Darshan Nalkande three for 37, A.A. Wakhare three for 39).

Baroda 206 for eight in 50 overs (Yusuf Pathan 64 n.o., Krunal Pandya 52, Deepak Hooda 44, S.M. Fallah three for 21, S.S. Bachhav three for 39) lost to Maharashtra 207 for five in 44.3 overs (Naushad Shaikh 76 n.o., Rohit Motwani 59, Ankeet Bawane 25, Atit Sheth three for 36)

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