Ranji Trophy: Padikkal, Nischal star as Karnataka grabs outright win

Requiring 130 runs to win on the final day, the host got past the finish line around 45 minutes into the second session.

D. Nischal was confident in attack and defence, in a risk-free four-hour stay at the crease.   -  SUNNY SHENDE

A clinical Karnataka coasted to a seven-wicket victory over Maharashtra in their Ranji Trophy match here on Saturday. This is Karnataka’s first outright win in its three fixtures thus far.

Requiring 130 runs to win on the final day, the host got past the finish line around 45 minutes into the second session.

Openers Devdutt Padikkal (77, 128b, 11x4, 1x6) and D. Nischal (61, 212b, 4x4) put on 121 runs for the first wicket, which laid the perfect foundation for Karnataka.

Padikkal, making his first-class debut, was a picture of calm and elegance. The southpaw favoured the back-foot drives and cuts, and ran well between the wickets with Nischal.

He looked set to make a century until he succumbed to the guile of left-arm spinner Satyajeet Bachhav. A full delivery tempted Devdutt into lofting the ball into the hands of mid-on.

Devdutt takes the stage

Despite the dodgy shot selection that led to his downfall, Devdutt, 18, proved that he belonged on the big stage. “I was nervous going into bat, especially in the second innings. It was crucial to strike the balance between scoring runs and preserving your wicket,” Devdutt said.

The teenager is keen to build on his good start in domestic cricket. “I want to keep improving and performing. The group of young players who came before us (K.L. Rahul, Karun Nair, Manish Pandey, Mayank Agarwal etc.) were terrific, and now we have to do justice to the State,” Devdutt said.

Nischal sees Karnataka through

One-drop K.V. Siddharth committed harakiri when he tried to blast Bachhav out of the park, despite not getting to the pitch of the ball. The normally astute Kaunain Abbas came in and played his shots, with two magnificent slog-sweep sixes standing out. Abbas (34 n.o., 62b, 3x2, 2x4) finished the task at hand, alongside Pavan Deshpande (6 n.o.).

Nischal, meanwhile, more than played his part in Karnataka’s success. The 24-year-old was confident in attack and defence, in a risk-free four-hour stay at the crease. He showed a steady temperament, which went a long way in raising the confidence of the dressing room.

Karnataka next takes on Saurashtra at Rajkot. The match commences on Thursday.