A relentless Karnataka broke down the Chhattisgarh walls to record a seven-wicket win in the Ranji Trophy Elite Group ‘C’ here on Friday.
The Karnataka bowling did the major damage in the morning session, dismissing Chhattisgarh for 177. That left Karnataka with the comfortable task of getting 123 runs in 32 overs. Nikin Jose (44 n.o., 59b, 1x4, 2x6), Manish Pandey (27, 24b, 2x4, 2x6) and R. Samarth (24, 40b) kept the score moving to finish the match in 23.2 overs.
The win took Karnataka (19 points) to the top of the points table. The positive result was set up by the Karnataka bowlers, and fast bowler Vyshak Vijaykumar (5/59) in particular. Vyshak made a dent by dismissing Ashutosh Singh (18) and Amandeep Khare (50) - the batting mainstays in the Chhattisgarh line-up. He induced an edge from Ashutosh early in the day, and rattled the stumps of Khare. Vyshak hastened a quick end to the visitor’s essay when he removed Shashank Singh, Ajay Mandal and Sourabh Majumdar.
Vyshak bowled with pace, and more importantly, kept it in the right areas. When he took out Majumdar’s middle stump, Vyshak celebrated his maiden First Class fifer by kissing the ball.
If only the Chhattisgarh batters had hung around for another couple of hours, a draw would have been in plain sight. Instead, Karnataka was on the march, heading for an outright win.
With a little less than four per over needed, Karnataka only needed to bat sensibly to get the job done. Chhattisgarh left-arm spinners Ajay Mandal and Sumit Ruikar took the new ball and bowled outside let stump. The defensive tactic worked for a brief while, as the batters were forced to play unorthodox sweeps and reverse-sweeps with little success.
Runs only started to flow when Samarth, Jose and Pandey chose to wisely focus on taking the singles and doubles. A couple of sixes and fours from Pandey late in the day was all that was needed for Chhattisgarh to wave the white flag.
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