Vijay Hazare Trophy: Pandey, Rahul hammer Chhattisgarh as Karnataka coasts to win

Manish Pandey scored an unbeaten 142 and KL Rahul made 81 as Karnataka beat Chhattisgarh by 79 runs in their Group-A Vijay Hazare Trophy match.

Manish Pandey plays a shot en route to his match-winning century.   -  G.P. SAMPATH KUMAR

Manish Pandey underlined his class with an imperious hundred as Karnataka thumped Chhattisgarh by 79 runs in their Group-A Vijay Hazare Trophy clash here on Wednesday.

Pandey’s unbeaten 142 (118b, 5x4, 7x6) powered Karnataka to 285 in 50 overs after it had been put in to bat at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium. Prasidh Krishna and Shreyas Gopal then claimed three wickets each as Chhattisgarh was bowled out inside 45 overs.

The result will have come as a relief to Karnataka after a morale-sapping defeat to Hyderabad a day earlier. The batsmen had let the team down on that occasion but Pandey and K.L. Rahul (81, 103b, 6x4, 1x6) made amends here.

Big stand, great strokes

The pair added 150 runs (157b) for the third wicket, guiding the side to a position of strength after Karnataka had been reduced to 25 for two in the eighth over.

Rahul swept Chhattisgarh’s two spinners — Sumit Ruikar and Ajay Mandal — to good effect all morning, and when medium-pacer Puneet Datey sent down a short delivery, the batsman executed a powerful swivelling pull over the leg-side boundary.

Vijay Hazare Trophy: As it happened

Rahul had a century for the taking here — it would have been his second in the space of five days — but he fell attacking Ruikar, caught at deep mid-wicket.

Pandey was a delight to watch. He struck seven sixes in all, swinging Shashank Singh over the sight-screen, brutally slog-sweeping Ruikar, and sending a full-toss from Mandal sailing over cow-corner.

Scampering for singles

As attractive as his big-hitting was, Pandey impressed with his running between the wickets too. The Karnataka captain ran 68 singles and six twos, and did not really seem to tire until the dying stages of a long effort under the sun. In the final over of the innings, he clobbered Shashank Singh for 20 runs, pushing the total past 280.

It proved too much for Chhattisgarh, who failed to string partnerships together. Captain Jiwanjot Singh was dropped once on eight, but he failed to make much of it, and was caught at slip off Prasidh for 11.

Shashank Chandrakar made 42 before he sought to pull Ronit More. The batsman was late on the shot and wicket-keeper B.R. Sharath swallowed the top edge.

Shreyas seemed animated on the field, and was spoken to by the umpires after giving Shashank Singh a send-off. It was the only moment of tension during an otherwise unremarkable afternoon.

The scores: Karnataka 285 for seven in 50 overs (Manish Pandey 142 n.o., K.L. Rahul 81) beat Chhattisgarh 206 in 44.4 overs (Shashank Chandrakar 42, Ashutosh Singh 32, Amandeep Khare 43, Shreyas Gopal three for 53, Prasidh Krishna three for 31).