Vijay Hazare Trophy: Karnataka rides on Mayank's hundred

Mayank Agarwal's stroke-filled century (109, 90b, 14x4, 2x6) combined with a four-wicket haul by K. Gowtham (9-0-42-4) kept Baroda from reaching the explosive heights its line-up promised on paper.

Mayank seemed unperturbed by the overcast conditions, even after losing his opening partner K.L. Rahul to a loose upper cut very early in the innings.   -  G.P. Sampath Kumar

Karnataka got its Vijay Hazare Trophy campaign off to the best-possible start, beating Baroda by 85 runs (VJD method) in a Group-A encounter at the Just Cricket Ground near here on Wednesday.

Chasing Karnataka’s 312, Baroda was reduced to 180 for eight in 37 overs when rain cut the match short.Mayank Agarwal was the star for the home side, notching up a stroke-filled century (109, 90b, 14x4, 2x6) before a disciplined bowling performance, which included a four-wicket haul by K. Gowtham (9-0-42-4), kept Baroda from reaching the explosive heights its line-up promised on paper.

Baroda flatters to deceive

Much was expected from the trio of Krunal Pandya, Deepak Hooda and Yusuf Pathan but it was to Karnataka’s credit that the three batsmen were dismissed within a space of four overs.

When openers Kedar Devdhar and Aditya Waghmode started sedately, scoring at little over four runs, it seemed part of the plan to lay the ideal foundation for the middle-order to explode.

But Gowtham and Shreyas Gopal ensured that this never materialised. Pandya, in spite of having looked at ease throughout his 39-run knock (44b, 4x4, 1x6), was trapped in front by Gowtham.

In the very next over, the latter forced Pathan to hole out to Mayank at long-on. Then when Hooda played one onto his stumps off Shreyas’ bowling, the fight had all but ended.

Mayank shines with the bat

Earlier, put into bat, Mayank seemed unperturbed by the overcast conditions, even after losing his opening partner K.L. Rahul to a loose upper cut very early in the innings.

The 26-year-old started with a glorious straight drive for four and thereafter put on an exhibition of an entire gamut of strokes. He drove, cut and pulled – especially in front of square – with panache as he brought up his 50 in 40 balls and the century 39 deliveries later.

In the company of R. Samarth (77, 69b, 7x4, 1x6), he put on 95 runs for the third wicket before top-edging a sweep to the short fine leg when on 109.

Pavan Deshpande and Samarth then stitched together a 64-run partnership for the fourth wicket but a lower middle-order collapse – from 234 for three to 241 for six – threatened to halt Karnataka’s charge.

But skipper Vinay Kumar bludgeoned his way to 34 off 21 balls to take his side to 312, which in the end proved more than enough.

At Alur, led by Shubham Rohilla’s 96, Haryana beat the fancied Punjab by two wickets. For Punjab, U-19 star Shubman Gill (25), Mandeep Singh (36), Yuvraj Singh (43) and Gurkeerat Mann (42) all got starts but none made it count.

Brief scores: Karnataka 312 for nine in 50 overs (Mayank Agarwal 109, R. Samarth 77, Rishi Arothe four for 59) bt Baroda 180 for eight in 37 overs (Kedar Devdhar 48, K. Gowtham four for 42). Toss: Baroda

At Alur: Railways 212 in 47.4 overs (Arindam Ghosh 48, Anureet Singh 41) lost to Odisha 213 for eight in 47 overs (Govinda Poddar 64, M.R. Chaudhary five for 25). Toss: Odisha

Punjab 247 for nine in 50 overs (Yuvraj Singh 43, Gurkeerat Mann 42) lost to Haryana 251 for eight in 49.5 overs (Shubham Rohilla 96, Chaitanya Bishnoi 44). Toss: Haryana.