Ranji Trophy: Spinners run through Karnataka, hand Saurashtra 87-run win

Saurashtra’s Kamlesh Makwana and Dharmendrasinh Jadeja take nine wickets between them as Karnataka is bowled out for 91, chasing 179.

Famous win: Saurashtra's players walk off after defeating Karnataka on Saturday. Photo: Special Arrangement

In a most remarkable finish, Saurashtra stunned Karnataka by 87 runs in a gripping Ranji Trophy encounter at the Saurashtra CA Stadium here on Saturday. No less than 20 wickets fell on the third day, for just 170 runs, paving the way for the home team’s famous win.

After being scuttled out for a paltry 79 in its second essay, Saurashtra — led by spinners Dharmendrasinh Jadeja and Kamlesh Makwana — ran through the Karnataka batting line-up like a hot knife through butter.

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Set a target of 179, Karnataka could muster only 91, and slipped to its first loss in four matches. Saurashtra, on the other hand, notched up its second win in five outings.

Minefield

The pitch — booby-trapped with exaggerated turn and uneven bounce — proved to be a minefield for batsmen. No one could claim to be settled on this surface, as it only took one false step for a batsman to fall off the cliff.

The Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA) has questioned the quality of the pitch used in the Ranji Trophy match between Karnataka and Saurashtra at Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium here. 

In a mailed complaint to the BCCI, the KSCA stated that the pitch was not up to First Class cricket standards, it was learnt. On a dramatic day's play on Saturday, 20 wickets fell in a heap.

 

However challenging the conditions may have been, Karnataka cannot claim that the target was beyond reach. A 60-run fourth-wicket partnership between Karun Nair (30, 55b, 1x4) and Shreyas Gopal (27, 72b, 2x4) gave the side hope, but the hard work came to nothing due to one poor shot. Karun inexplicably chose to attempt a reverse-sweep against offspinner Makwana, and was adjudged leg-before. Any cross-batted strokes, much less a reverse-sweep, was fraught with danger on this pitch. Karun showed his bat to umpire Yeshwant Barde, but replays suggested that there was no edge involved.

Dharmendrasinh Jadeja (right) took 4 for 44 to peg Karnataka back in its chase. Photo: Special Arrangement

 

His partner Shreyas was taken out by a ripper from left-arm slow bowler Dharmendrasinh. After setting Shreyas up with one that turned away, Dharmendrasinh delivered a perfect arm-ball. The batsman went back to cut it, but lost his stumps instead.

Wicketkeeper B. R. Sharath was needlessly run-out, and to make matters worse, he got into a heated verbal altercation with fielder Sheldon Jackson on his way off the park. At this stage, Karnataka was reduced to 84 for seven, and had no way back. Dharmendrasinh’s four-for took his match tally to 11 for 147, while Makwana scalped five in the second essay and seven for the match.

Umpires tested

Earlier, Saurashtra did not add much to its 99-run first-innings lead. Karnataka’s spin trio of Shreyas (three for 10), J. Suchith (three for 29) and Pavan Deshpande (three for five) wreaked havoc, and were helped along by some indisciplined batting.

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The umpires, Barde and South African Brad White, were severely tested by some wild appealing from both units. The theatrics resulted in two decisions going in favour of Karnataka, as Avi Barot (inside edge) and Snell Patel (missing leg) were unlucky to be given leg-before.

Overall, Barde and White did well to keep the overzealous players on a leash.

Brief Scores
  • Saurashtra 316 and 79 (Pavan Deshpande 3 for 5, Shreyas Gopal 3 for 10, J. Suchith 3 for 29) beat Karnataka 217 and 91 (Kamlesh Makwana 5 for 28, Dharmendrasinh Jadeja 4 for 44) by 87 runs.