Ranji Trophy: Baroda beats Karnataka, keeps quarterfinal hopes alive

While Karnataka is virtually through to the quarterfinals, but Baroda must now wait for other results to learn its fate.

Bhargav Bhat of Baroda celebrates after a taking wicket against Karnataka.   -  Sudhakara Jain

Baroda clinched a thriller inside two days at the Moti Baug cricket ground, edging Karnataka by two wickets in its Ranji Trophy Elite Group A contest.

Set 110 runs for victory in difficult batting conditions on Tuesday, the home side lost early wickets but seemed on course as long as Yusuf Pathan was at the crease.

But Pathan was bowled by Shreyas Gopal for 41, and when three balls later the leg-spinner dismissed Soaeb Tai, Baroda had sunk to 90 for eight, having lost three for four.

As it Happened

As the field closed in and Karnataka attacked, Bhargav Bhatt and Rishi Arothe unleashed a couple of towering sixes. The ninth-wicket pair held on to lead its side to a win, earning it six points. Karnataka is virtually through to the quarterfinals, but Baroda must now wait for other results to learn its fate.

Batting last was not going to be easy and at Tea the game seemed in the balance. Baroda was 10 for one, having just lost Kedar Devdhar, and after the break, Karnataka struck again, the excellent Prasidh Krishna having Aditya Waghmode caught driving in the covers.

Prasidh would finish with three for 14 from his 12 overs, his pace and steep bounce rendering him almost unplayable.

A piece of brilliance in the field from J. Suchith, as his diving stop and throw from the point boundary ran out Deepak Hooda, reduced Baroda to 32 for three. Pathan, however, seemed blissfully unconcerned.

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He blazed away, hammering three successive fours off Ronit More. In the bowler's next over, a short-arm jab from Pathan sailed over the deep-midwicket boundary.

His exit invigorated Karnataka but Baroda would have the last laugh.

Things had been chaotic on the first morning, but relative calm prevailed on the second. It took Baroda 54 minutes to break through, when Karun Nair was stumped off Bhargav Bhatt. The batsman stretched forward in defence and over-balanced as the ball spun past the outside edge.

At the other end, K.V. Siddharth played his shots without hesitation. He drove and swept the spinners, and deposited Bhatt over the sight-screen to raise his fourth first-class fifty. He and Manish Pandey looked increasingly confident at the crease, as they added 67 runs for the fourth wicket.

The partnership had begun to worry Baroda when Siddharth lost his patience. He smashed Bhatt over the long-off boundary to give Karnataka the lead, and then tried to heave the next ball over the leg-side. He missed and was bowled for 64. It was a rather inopportune moment to lose a wicket.

Baroda struck twice in quick succession after lunch as Karnataka failed to build a big parternship. Pandey was out leg-before for 50, a decision he seemed unhappy with, before B.R. Sharath frittered his start away by charging down the pitch to Hooda to be stumped.

Shreyas and Suchith resisted briefly as Karnataka's lead ticked past a hundred. It gave Baroda a challenging target but, as it turned out, not an insurmountable one.

Brief scores

Karnataka 112 & 220 (K.V. Siddharth 64, Manish Pandey 50, Bhargav Bhatt 5/116) vs Baroda 223 & 110/8 (Yusuf Pathan 41, Vishnu Solanki 20, M. Prasidh 3/14)

Result: Baroda won by two wickets. Points: Baroda - 6, Karnataka - 0