Karnataka qualified for the knockout phase defeating Pondicherry by an innings and 20 runs before lunch on day four in the Ranji Trophy contest at the SSN ground on Sunday.
Following on, Pondicherry was dismissed for 192. It was mission accomplished in the group phase when R. Samarth held the last man Sagar Udeshi at silly point off Shreyas Gopal.
Karnataka invariably finds men for the occasion, and this time it was Shreyas, who scalped five wickets. He bounded in and turned the ball both ways with bounce.
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This was Karnataka’s second outright win in Elite group ‘C’. The side batted big in the first innings after centuries from Devdutt Padikkal and Manish Pandey, and then the bowlers, with runs to back them, completed the job.
Shreyas and off-spinner K. Gowtham have to be among the leading spin pairs in the domestic circuit and they are backed by a sharp set of close-in catchers.
In the morning, D. Rohit could not repeat the heroics of the first innings. He seemed to be caught in two minds - whether to play or leave - and the Prasidh Krishna delivery darted in to disturb the off-stump. Prasidh generated pace and lift, with seamer V. Kaverappa being impressive once again.
For Pondicherry, the left-handed Pavan Deshpande (54 not out, 119b, 5x4) offered resistance. He defended with assurance, rotated the strike and drove fluently on either side of the wicket.
G. Chiranjeevi punched and drove his way to 28 when Shreyas lured him into a false shot. Then, Subodh Bhati blitzed 37 off 30 deliveries before holing out at long-on off Gowtham.
The end came soon for Pondicherry. Truth to tell, Karnataka packed too many punches.
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