Ranji Trophy: Railways surrenders after Gowtham runs riot

Off-spinner K. Gowtham finished with six for 30, as Karnataka beat Railways to climb up to the fourth spot on the Ranji Trophy’s combined Elite A & B table.

Gowtham scythed through Railways batting line-up on Tuesday.   -  k. murali kumar

K. Gowtham is a cricketer who just makes things happen. On Tuesday, Karnataka had been frustrated in the field, struggling to find a way through an obstinate Railways side on a hot afternoon, when the off-spinner smashed the door down to help deliver a dramatic victory.

Gowtham finished with six for 30, inducing a stunning collapse, as Karnataka defeated Railways by 176 runs to climb up to the fourth spot on the Ranji Trophy’s combined Elite A & B table. With two group games left, the side is well-placed to advance to the quarterfinals.

READ| As it happened: Ranji Trophy Round 7, Day 4

Gowtham runs riot

In nearly sixty overs of trying on the final day at the KSCA Navule Stadium, the home side had managed to claim only two of the nine wickets it needed. The quicks were making no impact, and the pitch appeared to have no life in it. A draw seemed the most likely outcome when, on the stroke of tea, Gowtham struck.

Two balls from the scheduled break, a defiant Pratham Singh pushed forward in defence and was caught at forward short leg as the ball looped up off his pads. Karnataka returned to the dressing room buzzing with anticipation.

Seven minutes after the interval, Gowtham was at it again, drawing an edge from Manish Rao, who had been Railways' top-scorer in the first innings. In the next over, Shreyas Gopal trapped Sahim Hasan leg-before. Railways was now listing.

Five balls later, Gowtham pinned Harsh Tyagi LBW. When Shreyas saw off Avinash Yadav, it was clear it was only going to be a matter of time. Gowtham completed the formalities, having Amit Mishra caught at silly point and bowling Karan Thakur. He sprinted off into the distance, exulting, as his teammates gave chase.

An abject collapse

The last five Railways wickets had fallen in a mere 19 balls, for the addition of seven runs; the last seven had gone in 62 balls, for 26 runs.

In the morning, Karnataka's seamers were unable to inflict any damage. It didn't help that substitute J. Suchith dropped Nitin Bhille in the gully. There were other half-chances, for Devdutt Padikkal and Abhimanyu Mithun; neither of them was taken.

Suchith made up for his error, though, by running Saurabh Wakaskar out with a fine direct hit from square-leg. When Bhille was packed off by Gowtham, Karnataka sensed an opportunity, but Railways continued to fight. It would need Gowtham's intervention to break that resistance, once and for all.

At Shivamogga: Karnataka 214 & 290 for two decl. bt Railways 143 & 185 in 86 overs (Saurabh Wakaskar 43, Pratham Singh 48, K. Gowtham six for 30); Points:Karnataka 6(21), Railways 0(7).