Vijay Hazare Trophy: Centuries for Agarwal, Nair as Karnataka romps home

Karnataka (14 points) remains on top of Group A, ahead of Baroda (12) and Punjab (12), and will next face Railways on Friday.

Mayank Agarwal's 102 (94b, 10x4, 2x6) was his seventh hundred in all formats this domestic season, to go with the six fifties to his name.   -  SUDHAKARA JAIN

Mayank Agarwal and Karun Nair hammered centuries as Karnataka crushed Odisha by 133 runs in the Vijay Hazare Trophy at the Alur grounds here on Tuesday.

The two openers laid the foundation before K. Gowtham and Pavan Deshpande ran riot as the home side made 353 for six batting first.

In response, Odisha was dismissed for 220 in 41 overs, the left-arm spinner J. Suchith taking five for 34. Karnataka (14 points) remains on top of Group A, ahead of Baroda (12) and Punjab (12), and will next face Railways on Friday.

Odisha had begun its reply in promising fashion, with Rajesh Dhuper and Anurag Sarangi both scoring quick fifties. They added 118 for the first wicket, as the visitor galloped along at nearly eight an over.

It was Gowtham who broke through, trapping Sarangi in front for 58. In his next over, he bowled Dhuper. The levee had broken and Odisha simply crumbled. Suchith, playing his first game in the Vijay Hazare Trophy this season, came on in the 19th over. He had Subhransu Senapati hole out to long-off before removing Shantanu Mishra leg-before first ball.

In between, Shreyas Gopal accounted for Prayas Singh, as Odisha lost three wickets in the space of nine balls for the addition of one run. Suchith was not done yet, running Abhishek Raut out before pulling off a stunning return catch to remove Debabrata Pradhan. The 24-year-old soon completed his maiden five-wicket haul in List A cricket as his side coasted home.

Agarwal, Nair shine with the bat

In the morning, Karnataka was inserted in to bat after losing the toss. Agarwal, who has enjoyed a golden winter, continued to pile on the runs. His 102 (94b, 10x4, 2x6) was his seventh hundred in all formats this domestic season, to go with the six fifties to his name. He was severe on the leg-spin of Raut as he neared three figures, hoisting him over the sight-screen, driving him through the covers and slashing him through point. He raised his ton with a pull shot off Suryakant Pradhan, but fell the very next ball, chopping on to end a partnership of 190 (185b) for the first wicket.

At the other end, Nair was perhaps not as fluent, but he steadily grew in confidence. He was in fine form in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy and has brought that into this tournament. He was caught at mid-off for 100 (111b), miscuing a lofted shot one ball after completing his century.

Gowtham (47, 20b) and Deshpande (54, 37b) then entertained the crowd, adding 82 runs (36b) for the fifth wicket. Karnataka walloped 115 in the last 10 overs as the total breached 350. It would be a mountain too high for Odisha to climb.

The scores: Group A: Karnataka 353 for six in 50 overs (Mayank Agarwal 102, Karun Nair 100, Pavan Deshpande 54 n.o., K. Gowtham 47, Shreyas Gopal 25) bt Odisha 220 in 41 overs (Anurag Sarangi 58, Rajesh Dhuper 53, Abhishek Raut 36, J. Suchith five for 34).

Punjab 275 for nine in 50 overs (Manan Vohra 78, Abhishek Gupta 53, Barinder Sran 38, Abhishek Sharma 30, Pritam Das three for 54) bt Assam 206 in 41.5 overs (Riyan Parag 59, Gokul Sharma 41, Parviz Aziz 30, Mayank Markande three for 39).

Baroda 357 for seven in 50 overs (Deepak Hooda 161, Kedar Devdhar 111, Swapnil Singh 47 n.o., Amit Mishra three for 55) bt Railways 165 in 37 overs (Arindam Ghosh 69 n.o., Anureet Singh 29).