Ranji Trophy Semifinal: Saurashtra beats Karnataka to enter final

Cheteshwar Pujara scored an unbeaten century as Saurashtra defeated a spirited Karnataka to enter the Ranji Trophy final.

Cheteshwar Pujara plays a shot en route to his century.   -  Sudhakara Jain

  • Saurashtra beats Karnataka by five wickets to enter the Ranji Trophy final.
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  • Cheteshwar Pujara scores an unbeaten century to help Saurashtra set the final date with Vidarbha.
  • WICKET - Vasavada falls prey to a short ball but Saurashtra needs just 5 runs to enter the final.
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  • It is almost over for Karnataka. The writing is on the wall. A. Vasvada and C. Pujara have taken Saurashtra within 6 runs of the target.
  • It's not over yet. Although Saurashtra is ahead, Karnataka after taking the wicket of Sheldon Jackson has found inspiration. Vinay Kumar bowls a brilliant over with the new ball and has troubled Cheteshwar Pujara. Can Karnataka stage a miraculous fightback? Saurashtra needs another 35 to win with six wickets in hand.
  • Our reporter from Bengaluru updates: Saurashtra completes 250 runs, inching towards victory in style. Vinay Kumar dismissed Sheldon Jackson after the right-hander reached his hundred but Karnataka may have left it too late.

    Skipper Manish Pandey is persisting with his pace attack anticipating a nick or two. Vasavada has been playing his shots and leaving the ball outside off, without taking much risk.  Saurashtra needs 25 more runs to enter the Ranji Trophy final. Vidarbha has already sealed its spot.

  • WICKET - Vinay Kumar strikes and removes Sheldon Jackson. He is pumped up and so as Karnataka as the ball keeps low and sneaks through to uproot the middle stump. Saurashtra needs 42 more to win.
  • Sheldon Jackson hits a brilliant century. Abhimanyu Mithun drops it short and Jackson pulls towards the square-leg boundary and punches his fist in delight. The entire Saurashtra dressing room stands up and applauds. What a moment for the young man.
  • Meanwhile, Cheteshwar Pujara is doing his job - defending and rotating the strike. Saurashtra needs 47 runs to win.
  • Sheldon Jackson is on 94 and is four runs short in what would be a match-winning century.
  • Karnataka would be hoping for a dramatic collapse but there are up against Cheteshwar Pujara who has shown why he is considered one of the best players in whites. 
  • Sheldon Jackson is nearing his century and Saurashtra needs 54 runs to book a spot in the final.

The fifth day's play is all set to commence at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru.

India international Cheteshwar Pujara scored a crucial century amid umpiring howlers to put Saurashtra in course for victory in the Ranji Trophy 2018-19 semifinal.

Report

Saurashtra needs 55 runs to set the final date with defending champions Vidarbha.

How Day Four progressed

RESULT

In Wayanad: Vidarbha 208 bt Kerala 106 and 91 (Umesh Yadav 5 for 31, Y. R. Thakur 4 for 28) by an innings and 11 runs. (Report)

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In Bengaluru

AT STUMPS ON DAY FOUR

Saurashtra 224-3 (Cheteshwar Pujara batting

108, Sheldon Jackson batting 90) vs Karnataka.

Saurashtra requires 55 runs more to win.

  • So, that's it for the day. Saurashtra ends the day at 224-3, still needing 55 runs to win the semifinal. Cheteshwar Pujara remains unbeaten on 108, while Sheldon Jackson is batting on 90. On the fifth day, Saurashtra needs 55 runs and Karnataka needs seven wickets to reach the final.
  • So, its 210-3 for Saurashtra. It still requires 69 runs to seal the deal.
  • The 200 is up as well, as Jackson hits a boundary. This was a pull off Mithun. He has played that shot well today.
  • A loose delivery from More, and Pujara cashes in to bring up his century. He has shepherded his team towards a remarkable recovery after the early wickets. It's a different contest now.
  • Pujara is making hay. He is not afraid to pull out his drive as well as he collects another four — off More — to bring up the 150-run partnership with Jackson.
  • Apart from a rare scare — Ronit More nearly had Jackson bowled — Saurashtra has been safely churning out the runs. The tables are turning, and it seems, the contest could decisively shift in favour of Saurashtra unless the partnership is broken. 109 needed to win.
  • It's consolidation time for Saurashtra, as the old ball is not swinging any more, and the field has been pushed back. Vinay Kumar, in frustration, spreads his arms in his run-up to distract the batsman. Pujara, however, is undeterred. He follows the path of the ball even after it has been collected by the wicketkeeper. 159 for 3 after 57 overs.

 

  • A cut through point off Gowtham brings up Jackson's half-century. It's been a long vigil for him, it took him 135 deliveries to get to the landmark.
  • Pujara plays a flick to square leg for a boundary off Vinay Kumar. The partnership is worth 109 now. After 50 overs, it's 132 for 3.
  • A loud shout for caught behind. Jackson the batsman, Gowtham the bowler. The umpire is not impressed; he folds his hands.
  • At tea, Saurashtra is 128 for 3 in 48 overs. Another 151 needed to win.

 

  • Jackson plays a drive off Gowtham; he gets an outside edge and the ball goes past the lone slip fielder to the boundary. It's 111 for 3 after 44 overs.
  • Fifty for Pujara. First, rocks on the back-foot and punches Gowtham's delivery to the deep extra-cover region to collect two. Then, he plays a soft flick to take a single and reach the landmark. A crucial innings from him, but Saurashtra has a long way to go yet.
  • A boundary, at long last. Gowtham, amid his loopy off-breaks, bowls a quick, short delivery to Jackson, who pulls it to collect a boundary through square leg. 97 for 3 after 40 overs. Target is 279.
  • Pujara is assuredly playing defensive strokes, but runs have been hard to come by for Saurashtra after lunch. It's 93 for 3 in 39 overs.
  • Another tidy over from Gowtham. Three runs coming from it. It's 91 for 3 after 38 overs.
  • Now, a conspicuous edge, this time off the bat of Jackson. But it evades a diving first slip, bisecting that fielder and the wicketkeeper. Mithun, the bowler, pats the batsman on the head. The first slip was positioned wide; perhaps, in a more conventional position, he could have taken the catch. Five runs off the 35th over, it's 88 for 3.
  • Spin introduced. K. Gowtham, the off-spinner, comes on to bowl. Three singles taken off the over. It's 83 for 3.
  • Pujara negotiates safely an accurately bowled over by K. V. Siddharth. It's a maiden.
  • Mithun back into the attack, and once again, the ball narrowly goes past Pujara's bat through to the wicketkeeper. No appeal this time, though. Angling his bat to a delivery outside off-stump, Pujara guides it to a vacant area to collect a single. 199 required now to win, for Saurashtra.
  • Another appeal for caught behind by Vinay Kumar. The ball goes past Pujara's bat once more, and once more, it's not out. This time, the gap between bat and the ball was noticeable. Pujara grins and shakes his head.
  • It's been slow going for Saurashtra in this session. Only 10 runs have been scored in seven overs. Ronit More bowls a tidy over to complete the 30th of the innings. It's 78 for 3.
  • Here's Wriddhaayan, from the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium: Pujara is lucky again, that looked like a nick. There was a slight deviation but then, there is no DRS in Indian domestic cricket yet.  Vinay Kumar can't believe it. Karnataka can't believe it's happened again. He was batting on 34. The spring-like leg glance and strike-rate, and now, this reprieve, augurs well for him.
  • Now, a shout for caught-behind when the bat was nowhere near the ball. It was a wayward, short delivery that Pujara left safely as it travelled past him down the leg side. More, the bowler, and the wicketkeeper, rose up in appeal. It was turned down.

 

  • Guiding Vinay Kumar's delivery down to third man, Pujara moves on to 39. It brings up the 50 partnership between Jackson and him. Earlier in the over, he played another trademark flick for a boundary through square leg. It's 73 for 3 after 27 overs. Saurashtra needs 206 more runs to win.
  • A big shout by Vinay Kumar, and there's disbelief and frustration among the Karnataka players as the umpire rules it not out. Pujara hung out his bat to a delivery that left him on its way to the wicketkeeper. Karnataka's players were convinced it was out, but replays showed no evidence the ball had touched the bat. The sound, which could have been of the bat touching the pad, compelled the bowler and wicketkeeper to be sure. No damage done for Saurashtra, though.
  • Pujara negotiates the over from Vinay Kumar safely, and it's lunch. Pujara has kept Saurashtra in the hunt, but just about. It's a steep climb for the side, still. 211 more runs are required to win, with seven wickets in hand. The partnership is worth 45. It's 68 for 3.
  • An exciting shout for caught-behind, but it's not out. Pujara tried to play another flick off a delivery from More, but it got a deflection off his pad through to the wicketkeeper, who appealed excitedly. After the umpire's not-out verdict, Pujara pointed to his pad.
  • Vinay Kumar back into the attack. More pushes a good-length delivery to the on side, bisecting the mid-on and midwicket fielders. The ball should have been pulled back by the chasing Shreyas Gopal, but as he bends to retrieve the ball, he slips, and the ball crosses the rope. Gopal is in some discomfort; he clutches his waist and walks slowly.

 

  • Another flick, and this time, a boundary through fine leg. More the bowler. Pujara moves on to 34.
  • K. V. Siddharth, the man who took the diving catch to dismiss Harvik Desai, comes on to bowl. He bowls a tidy over, giving away only a single.

 

  • Two flicks by Pujara, fetching him three runs in total. The batsmen collect a run for an overthrow, after the final delivery of the over, but it's not valid. Saurashtra 56 for 3.
  • Two more boundaries arrive in the over bowled by Abhimanyu Mithun. First, Pujara plays a gentle on-drive for a four through long-on, and later, Jackson pulls a short delivery authoritatively to the boundary. It brings up the 50 for Saurashtra. It's 53 for 3.
  • Jackson, after a long period of dry spell in terms of scoring, gets a full delivery from More to be put away. He promptly gets to the pitch of the ball, kneeling down to extend his reach, and guides the ball between the point and cover fielders for his first boundary. He moves on to 7 off 34 deliveries at the end of the 16th over. Saurashtra 44 for 3, needs another 235 runs to win.
  • Ronit More is distraught at not getting the leg-before-wicket verdict in his favour. To be fair, when Sheldon Jackson was struck low on the pads, the ball seemed to be on its way to hitting the leg stump. The umpire rules it not out, and gestures Karnataka's players to calm down.
  • Here's more, from Wriddhaayan: It is a cloudy Sunday in Bengaluru. There is wetness in the air. The sun perhaps sets when Pujara rises. The important man is bringing in all his experience into play to rescue Saurashtra out of hell.  The Pujara-Jackson pair is Saurashtra’s only hope at the moment. Mayank Agarwal and Manish Pandey have been making the ball for the pacers. It’s great to watch the intensity with which the international cricketers are playing domestic cricket.
  • Wickets are falling in a hurry at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium. Harvik Desai's dismissal makes it five wickets within the first hour of play. After scoring his first boundary through cover, thanks to a misfield by K. Gowtham, Desai tries to slash a delivery from Mithun through point. He gets an outside edge, and a diving fielder at wide third slip — K. V. Siddharth — holds on. Mithun and the rest of Karnataka's entourage are gleeful. Saurashtra 23 for 3 now.
  • Pujara plays a deft flick to get another boundary, through square leg. Saurashtra 19 for 2, needs 260 more to win.
  • Pujara gets a delivery bowled short and wide. He duly cashes in, cutting to collect Saurashtra's first boundary of the innings. He also plays a glance and defensive stroke for runs. Harvik Desai's flick gives him a couple, too. Saurashtra has started moving.
  • Says Wriddhaayan Bhattacharyya, our reporter, from the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium: The fourth day wicket here looks tough. Very tough. Four wickets have fallen in the last 30 minutes or so. It won't be surprising if Karnataka wraps this up by tea.  Adding only two more runs to its overnight total. Karnataka has set a target of 279 for Saurashtra.  Vinay Kumar strikes early to leave them reeling at 3/2.  Over to Pujara now.
  • But Jadeja doesn't hang around for long. Vinay Kumar got a delivery to hit his knee roll; it looked adjacent, and the umpire declared it out. Saurashtra is 3 for 2. Cheteshwar Pujara, the new batsman, gets an inside edge to the first delivery he faces; he scampers for two.
  • Another probing over, this time from Mithun. On one occasion, Vishwarajsinh Jadeja, the new batsman, nearly edged behind; he hung his bat out facing a delivery pitched in the corridor. It left him on its way to the wicketkeeper, but only just.
  • First over, and the first wicket for Karnataka. Four slips in place for the openers, but they weren't needed to prize out Snell Patel, who had scored 85 in the first innings. Patel slashes at a delivery that was short-of-a-length and going away from him, he gets an edge and is caught out by the wicketkeeper. Saurashtra 1 for 1.
  • Saurashtra now has the best part of two days to chase down a target of 279.
  • And as No. 11 Ronit More came in to bat, he was greeted by a full delivery that pitched on middle, and thudded into his pad. The umpire had no hesitation in declaring it out. Jadeja smiled; after all, he had taken five wickets.
  • The key wicket was that of the set Gopal. The silly point fielder came in handy. In the delivery bowled before the wicket was taken, Gopal defended off the front foot; the ball, after bouncing, went through the legs of the silly-point fielder and was fielded by the man positioned within the circle. The next ball was similar; Gopal, this time, tried to turn it to leg, got a leading edge and was snaffled by the same short-leg fielder, Arpit Vasavada. Nicely done, by Jadeja.
  • And it's all over. Jadeja to the rescue for Karnataka, as persistence with spin pays off. Two wickets in the over; Karnataka is bowled out for 238.
  • A single from the first over of the day, bowled by off-spinner Kamlesh Makwana. 238 for 8. Lead 277.
  • A reminder, Mithun and Gopal have added 61 runs for the ninth wicket so far. How long can they continue for Karnataka and extend the lead?
  • "It's not easy to bowl, but it's easy to bat on this wicket," says Abhimanyu Mithun ahead of the fourth day's play. He will resume batting (35 n.o.) after a useful partnership with Shreyas Gopal, who, he says, gave him the confidence to continue through with the bat in the final session.

 

This is how the teams stand at the end of three days.

End of Day Three

Karnataka 275 and 237 for 8 (Shreyas Gopal 61 n.o., Mayank Agarwal 46, Jaydev Unadkat 3 for 35, Dharmendrasinh Jadeja 3 for 77) leads Saurashtra 236 by 276 runs.

The fourth day's play is all set to commence at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru.