Vijay Hazare Trophy: Devdhar, Pandya put Baroda in semis

Kedar Devdhar and Krunal Pandya scored half-centuries and added 92 runs for the second wicket as Baroda cruised to a seven-wicket victory, chasing down 234 with 25 balls to spare.

Kedar Devdhar played sensible cricket to hit a half-century and help Baroda make the semifinals.   -  K.R. Deepak

Unbeaten in the group stages, Karnataka faltered when it mattered most, crashing out of the Vijay Hazare Trophy with a seven-wicket defeat to Baroda in the semifinal at the Feroz Shah Kotla stadium here on Sunday.

Scorecard

Kedar Devdhar and Krunal Pandya scored half-centuries and added 92 runs for the second wicket as Baroda cruised to victory, chasing down 234 with 25 balls to spare. The game, advanced by a day ahead of schedule to avoid clashing with the festival of Holi, was never in Karnataka's control even as Pandya shone with both bat and ball.

Devdhar and Aditya Waghmode put on 64 runs for the opening wicket before Sreenath Arvind sent the latter packing for 26. That brought out Pandya, promoted up to No. 3, and he wasted no time in taking control of the match. Pandya and Devdhar, who had been cautious early on, played sensible cricket, mixing caution with aggression to go aerial with the loose balls and rotating the strike to keep the scoreboard ticking.

While Devdhar scored most of his runs on the leg side, including his two sixes – off Arvind and Pavan Deshpande — Pandya preferred to stick to the V in front, specially for his fours and the lone six off Suchith J that smashed into the sightscreen. The pair added 92 runs before Devdhar was bowled by Suchith for 78, Baroda still 77 runs behind.

That did not stop Pandya from going for his shots and, joined by an equally attacking Deepak Hooda, completed his fifty in just 59 balls. Arvind got him to nick one behind for 70 in the 41st over but by then, Baroda was sitting pretty in the chase. Hooda and Yusuf Pathan completed the formalities five overs later.

Put in to bat, a below-par Karnataka was unable to last its quota of 50 overs. Apart from a 64-run opening partnership between Robin Uthappa and Mayank Agarwal and an 87-run fightback from Samarth R and Pavan Deshpande in the middle, there was little of note. Three run-outs in a desperate attempt to up the scoring did not help either.

Uthappa got the start but threw away his wicket for 24, Agarwal was out leg before to youngster Atit Sheth, playing his debut season and Manish Pandey was run out cheap. Samarth and Deshpande steadied the innings, the latter top-scoring with 54 in 59 balls before falling short of crease to an excellent direct throw from Soaeb Tai. Thereafter, there was little support for Samarth from the other end even as Pandya picked up three wickets, including Samarth's (44) to keep a lid on the scoring.