Karnataka’s pace trio of V. Koushik, Vidwath Kaverappa, and Vyshak Vijaykumar relished in overcast conditions to set up a six-wicket triumph over Delhi in the Group C Vijay Hazare Trophy clash at the Narendra Modi Stadium Ground B here on Monday.
In a game curtailed to 38 overs due to a wet outfield, Mayank Agarwal seized the dash of fortune by opting to bowl after winning the toss.
Koushik rattled the top order, starting with Anuj Rawat, who was trapped leg-before by a delivery that snuck in after pitching. Priyansh Arya’s cameo included three cover-drive boundaries off Kaverappa. But Kaverappa got Arya to loft the fourth, and Devdutt Padikkal’s one-handed catch at cover got him the wicket.
Himmat Singh had to pay for his lack of footwork when Koushik had him leg-before in the fifth over. Yash Dhull arrested the slide, but he soon threw his wicket away by nicking behind to the keeper off Vyshak. Lalit Yadav was castled on the first delivery by Koushik.
Ayush Badoni (100, 106b, 12x4, 4x6) waged a lonely battle to rescue his side from 47 for five. Forced to rein himself in due to his side’s collapse, Badoni’s counter-punches came in isolation against spinners Krishnappa Gowtham and J. Suchith.
His preferred weapon was the slog sweep which he pulled out against Gowtham, packing him for two maximums. When Suchith erred by offering width, Badoni swiftly slashed through point. The only time Suchith managed to deceive Badoni with flight, B.R. Sharath bottled the stumping chance.
He seemed at ease upon the return of the pacers, who used the short-ball ploy, setting up traps deep on leg-side. Badoni, by now farming strike in the company of tail-enders, answered aptly with checked pull shots while also managing to pick boundaries of the slightly fuller deliveries.
Defending 144, Delhi asserted control early on with its lanky pace duo of Harshit Rana and Ishant Sharma extracting bounce.
Rana induced a top edge from R. Samarth, which was pouched at fine-leg in the third over. Delhi had its tail up when Mayank Yadav squared up his namesake Agarwal to crash into his stumps and end his tentative 27-ball stay.
But the early jitters provided another opportunity for Padikkal (70, 69b, 3x4, 6x6) to stamp his class and tilt the match in his team’s favour. His first assault came against Rana, who he lofted over covers and then flicked over square-leg in the ninth over, clearing the rope on both occasions.
Padikkal was prompt in attacking Suyash Sharma, picking 11 from his first over which included a six over mid-wicket and a punch through cover. His 37 and 57-run associations with Nikin Jose and Manish Pandey for the third and fourth wickets, respectively, put the contest to bed.
Padikkal holed out at deep square-leg with his team 15 short of the target, but Pandey and Sharath ensured their side made it three wins from three in the tournament.
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