Karnataka earned a consolation win, beating Himachal Pradesh by 35 runs (VJD method) in the Vijay Hazare Trophy at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium here on Saturday. Rain held up play twice during the course of the day; first delaying the start by two hours and reducing the game to 38-overs-a-side and then interrupting the Himachal chase.

The second break in fact turned the contest in Karnataka’s favour. Pursuing 258, Himachal, powered by captain Prashant Chopra (67, 45b, 11x4, 2x6) and Ankush Bains (26, 25b, 4x4) sent the home team on a leather hunt.

As it happened

Pace and spin were both treated with equal disdain as the two batsmen repeatedly pierced the loaded off-side fields the Karnataka attack bowled to. Himachal had reached 122 for three in 19.2 overs, just one run short of the VJD par score (at 20 overs), when weather intervened.
With dark clouds hovering and the forecast not so good, a Himachal win seemed the most likely of results.

Instead, the rain abated after a brief while and the away side was handed a 198-run target in 28 overs. The batsmen, in their attempt to up the scoring rate further, collapsed in a heap, losing five wickets for the addition of just 15 runs. K. Gowtham, who was earlier hit out
of the attack by Chopra, came back to claim four wickets (four for 26) as Himachal was bowled out for 162.

Earlier, Karnataka’s innings largely hinged on the 103-run third wicket partnership between R. Samarth (98, 97b, 11x4) and skipper Manish Pandey (43, 43b, 4x4, 1x6). The association could have been nipped in the bud if Gurvinder Singh had held on to a simple catch at square leg when Manish was on two.

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Let off the hook the two batsmen blossomed, with Samarth in particular in fine fettle. He was severe on left-arm spinner Mayank Dagar, whom he hit for five fours in a span of two overs. On show were some fine sweeps, deft late cuts and inside-out shots in the cover region.

However, after Manish holed out to the long-off fielder with the score reading 158 in the 25th over, Karnataka lost wickets at regular intervals. But Aniruddha Joshi (42, 31b, 6x4) played a good hand, helping Karnataka accumulate 68 runs in the last eight overs, to ensure the total wouldn’t be below par.

At the Just Cricket Ground near here, the Mumbai-Maharashtra clash was abandoned without a ball being bowled owing to rain.