Ranji Trophy Quarterfinal: Karnataka pins hope on Karun Nair, Manish Pandey

Facing a target of 184, Karnataka ended the third day on 45 for three but with the likes of Karun Nair and Manish Pandey in the line-up the host will fancy its chances to win the Ranji Trophy quarterfinal match.

Ronith More cleans up Rajasthan's Ashok Menaria during the Ranji Trophy quarterfinal match at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru on Thursday.   -  Sudhakara Jain

A tantalising finish awaits the Ranji Trophy quarterfinal outing between Karnataka and Rajasthan at M. Chinnaswamy Stadium.

Facing a target of 184, Karnataka ended the third day on 45 for three. On a slow, low pitch which offers variable bounce, Rajasthan will fancy its chances, while Karnataka needs to summon all available grit and technique to get over the hump.

Earlier, a solid top-order show kept the visitor in the hunt. Amit Gautam (24, 55b), Chetan Bist (33, 80b), captain Mahipal Lomror (42, 59b) and Robin Bist (44, 73b) gathered crucial runs, even if they could not convert their starts to big scores.

Gautam and Robin, however, threw their wickets away after doing all the hard work. While Gautam slashed a short and wide delivery to deep third man, Robin blindly charged at leg-spinner Shreyas Gopal and was stumped.

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Wicket-keeper B.R. Sharath pulled off a brilliant leg-side catch to take out Chetan, and gathered a more regulation chance to dismiss Lomror.

The experienced Ashok Menaria (4) played all over a full Ronit More delivery and lost his stumps. Salman Khan was severe on anything that drifted on his pads, flicking with elan.

He moved to 25 before a questionable leg-before decision ended his vigil. Rahul Chahar (22) and Rajesh Bishnoi (12) added substance to the total, with the latter the last man to go.

Bishnoi was not amused when he was given out caught-behind, indicating to the umpire that the ball had brushed his forearm.

Spinners K. Gowtham (four for 54) and Shreyas Gopal (three for 52) were successful, though overall, the Karnataka attack failed to exploit the demons in the pitch to the fullest.

Having set a challenging target, Rajasthan took the field with energy. The results were immediate, with opener D. Nischal castled by an inswinger from left-arm pacer Aniket Choudhary. Aniket soon added a second, when he got K.V. Siddharth to poke at one away from the body.

R. Samarth’s form troubles continued, trapped on the pads by left-arm spinner Lomror for 16. Gowtham is confident that his team can get the job done.

“We have a good batting line-up with the likes of experienced Manish Pandey and Shreyas Gopal yet to come. Vinay Kumar has been in good form down the order too. We have the batting to pull it off,” Gowtham said.

Scorecard:

Rajasthan (1st innings): 224 Karnataka (1st innings): 263 Rajasthan (2nd innings): 45/3

Amit Gautam c Gopal b Mithun 24, Chetan Bist c B.R. Sharath b Gowtham 33, Mahipal Lomror c B.R. Sharath b Gowtham 42, Robin Bist st B.R. Sharath b Gopal 44, Ashok Menaria b More 4, Salman Khan lbw b Gopal 25, Rajesh Bishnoi c (sub) Sharath Srinivas b Mithun 12, Deepak Chahar c (sub) Deshpande b Gopal 0, Rahul Chahar c Samarth b Gowtham 22, Aniket Choudhary c Samarth b Gowtham 0, Tanveer Ul-Haq (not out) 0

Extras (b-4, lb-12): 16;

Total (222 in 67.2 overs): 222

Fall of wickets:

1-35, 2-107, 3-118, 4-123, 5-186, 6-187, 7-187, 8-218, 9-218.

Karnataka bowling:

Gowtham 19-1-54-4, Mithun 11.2-2-26-2, Vinay Kumar 9-4-23-0, Ronit More 11-1-44-1, Shreyas Gopal 14-1-52-3, Siddharth 3-2-7-0.

Karnataka (2nd Innings):

R. Samarth lbw b Lomror 16, D. Nischal b Aniket 1, K.V. Siddharth c Chetan b Aniket 5, Karun Nair (batting) 18, Ronit More (batting) 5,

Total (45 for three wickets in 18 overs)

Fall of wickets: 1-6, 2-14, 3-40

Rajasthan bowling:

Chahar 4-0-11-0, Aniket 6-0-9-2, Tanveer 4-0-14-0, Rahul 3-0-9-0, Lomror 1-0-2-1