Ranji Trophy: More takes Karnataka closer to quarterfinal spot

Pacer Ronit More took four wickets to finish with a match-haul of nine for 83 as Karnataka trounced Chhattisgarh by 198 runs to inch closer to the knockouts.

More’s dream season, which now includes three five-fors and two four-fors, makes him the highest wicket-taker of the team with 27 wickets.   -  G.P. Sampath Kumar

A spectacular Chhattisgarh collapse in the final session handed Karnataka a 198-run victory on the last day of their Ranji Trophy encounter, at Alur grounds here on Wednesday.

The six points gained helped Karnataka take a giant step towards sealing a quarterfinal berth.

Chhattisgarh, given a tricky target of 355 in 72 overs, looked set to force a draw at 117 for two. From here, the visitor lost eight wickets in 14.3 overs.

Pacer Ronit More took four wickets to finish with a match-haul of nine for 83. More kept it simple, attacking the stumps as the pitch kept low and offered little movement. More’s dream season, which now includes three five-fors and two four-fors, makes him the highest wicket-taker of the team with 27 wickets.

Key highlights: Round 8, Day 4

Poor shot selection

He was ably supported by leg-spinner Shreyas Gopal, who picked up four wickets as well. Shreyas kept it full and used flight variations to reap big rewards.

Karnataka was helped by some poor shot selection by the Chhattisgarh batsmen, who failed to show patience and stay the course.

Trouble started on the last ball before Tea, when the set Amandeep Khare (35, 93b) lunged forward and edged a length delivery from Shreyas to Vinay Kumar at slip. The spinner then snatched the crucial wicket of Avnish Singh (61, 142b, 8x4), who missed a full ball and was trapped leg-before.

Skipper Harpreet Singh, the centurion in the first innings, needlessly poked at one outside off and gave Devdutt Padikkal a simple catch at gully. Chhattisgarh, now staring down the barrel of a gun, meekly waved the white flag.

Manish ton leads the way

Earlier, resuming on 113 for four, Karnataka batted for 23 overs and declared on 219 for seven. Captain Manish Pandey, on 57 overnight, reached his 19th first-class century with a crisp boundary through cover.

A. Mithun used the long handle well, smacking a couple of big sixes over mid-wicket, to make an unbeaten 17-ball 33.

There were fears that Karnataka had left the declaration for too late, but the bowlers ensured that the job was completed with 15 overs to spare for the close of play.

Karnataka (27 points) takes on Baroda in its final group game, in Vadodara. Chhatisgarh (6 points), which also has one game to go, has no chance of making it to the knockout rounds.

At Bengaluru:

Karnataka 418 & 219 for seven decl. in 49.3 overs (Manish Pandey 102 n.o., Pankaj Rao four for 67) bt Chhattisgarh 283 & 156 in 57 overs (Avnish Singh 61, Ronit More four for 35, Shreyas Gopal four for 44). Points: Karnataka 6 (27), Chhattisgarh 0 (6).