Ranji Trophy: Karnataka wins with a bonus

In the final session, Karnataka made light of a 37-run target with openers, debutant Arjun Hoysala and Kaunian Abbas needing 10 overs to complete a 10-wicket victory against Maharashtra on the third day of its final Ranji Trophy league match today. The triumph was worth seven points, including a bonus.

R. Vinay Kumar reached the landmark of 350 wickets in the National championship becoming the most successful medium pacer in Ranji Trophy by breaking Madan Lal’s tally of 351 wickets.   -  Akhilesh Kumar

Karnataka finished the job with a day to spare after its medium pacers staved off an aggressive counter-punching from Kedar Jadhav and openers chased down a modest target set by Maharashtra on the third day of its final Ranji Trophy league match here on Friday.

In the final session, Karnataka made light of a 37-run target with openers, debutant Arjun Hoysala and Kaunian Abbas needing 10 overs to complete a 10-wicket victory. The triumph was worth seven points, including a bonus.

As a result, Karnataka regained its position at the top of Group ‘B’ with 37 points. The defeat kept Maharashtra’s tally at 21 points and ended its hopes of qualifying for the quarterfinals.

Should Saurashtra defeat Delhi (21) on Saturday, Odisha (22) will qualify as the third team, irrespective of the result of its re-scheduled clash with an already-qualified Jharkhand (32) next week.

The day started well for Karnataka with its last-wicket pair of skipper R. Vinay Kumar and S. Arvind stretching the overnight first innings score of 313 for nine to 345 for a lead of 182 runs.

Vinay, who reached the landmark of 350 wickets in the National championship two days back and became the most successful medium pacer in Ranji Trophy by breaking Madan Lal’s tally of 351 wickets, crossed 2000 runs during his unbeaten innings of 56.

At present, Vinay’s tally of 2002 runs and 354 wickets in Ranji Trophy makes him only the second all-rounder from Karnataka to score 2000 runs and take 350 wickets in the competition.

In the all-time list, Vinay is 13th most successful bowler in Ranji Trophy behind spinners Rajinder Goel (637 wickets), S. Venkatraghavan (530), Sunil Joshi (479), Narendra Hirwani (441), B. S. Chandrashekhar (437), V. V. Kumar (418), Sairaj Bahutule (405), Bishan Singh Bedi (403), Utpal Chatterjee (401), E. A. S. Prasanna (370), Venkatapati Raju (367) and Padmakar Shivalkar (361).

Trailing by 182 runs, Maharashtra knew that only brisk scoring could help its goal of scoring on outright victory for a place in the quarterfinals. But once the openers Rohit Motwani and skipper Swapnil Gugale departed with just 17 on the board, Maharashtra never looked like setting a challenging target to Karnataka.

Only Kedar Jadhav played to his reputation. The loss of early wickets did not hamper his style as he smashed 85 off just 59 deliveries, dotted with two sixes and 10 boundaries. Jadhav was the sixth batsmen to be dismissed. Later, contributions of 26 runs each by Ankit Bawane and last-man Nikit Dhumal only delayed the inevitable.

Of the eight wickets that went to the medium pacers, lanky David Mathias scalped three to emerge as the most successful. Vinay Kumar was declared the Man of the Match, rightly recognised for his all-round performance for the third time this season.