Vijay Hazare Trophy: Rayudu leads from the front, Hyderabad beats Karnataka

Ambati Rayudu scored an unbeaten 87 and B. Sandeep took four wickets as Hyderabad beat Karnataka by 21 runs in a Vijay Hazare Tophy match at the Alur Grounds.

Ambati Rayudu plays a shot en route to his unbeaten half-century.   -  SUDHAKARA JAIN

Karnataka slumped to a 21-run loss against Hyderabad in the Vijay Hazare Trophy at the Alur Grounds here on Tuesday.

Chasing a modest 198, the home side turned in a below par batting performance, with only Devdutt Padikkal (60, 104b, 6x4) and skipper Manish Pandey (48, 54b, 5x4, 2x6) looking the part.

For Hyderabad, captain Ambati Rayudu set it up with a classy unbeaten 87 (111b, 4x4, 3x6), an innings which was interrupted at the fag end when he was hit on the right elbow by a Prasidh Krishna delivery.

B. Sandeep, deputising for the injured Rayudu, finished it off with a superlative performance on the field, claiming four wickets (9-2-35-4), effecting a run out and taking a fine running catch to dismiss Abhimanyu Mithun that helped usher the defeat.

It was, in fact, Mithun who gave Karnataka a glimmer of hope when all seemed lost following the dismissal of Padikkal (155-8).

Mohammed Siraj was clubbed for two fours and a six in the 44th over to bring the equation down to 22 runs from five overs. But another big heave could not clear Sandeep at long off.

Earlier, Karnataka was rocked in the very first over by Siraj, as he sent back both K.L. Rahul (4) and Karun Nair (0). Things could have gotten worse for the host if the speedster had held on to a return catch from Pandey when the score was still 11.

The latter capitalised and stitched together an 85-run partnership with Padikkal for the third wicket.

But, Sandeep accounted for both key batsmen; first having Pandey caught behind with 110 runs still left to get, before forcing Padikkal to hole out at short third-man.

“It was not an easy wicket to bat,” Sandeep said later. “The odd ball was turning and the batsman was always in doubt. They [Karnataka] didn’t have much depth in batting. So they didn’t know whether to go for it or not. Rayudu looked a different batsman [from the rest] today. He was absolute class.”

Coming into bat at 20 for two, Rayudu opened with a majestic flicked six over backward square leg off paceman Ronit More. But for that, he batted cautiously to bring up his half-century from 78 balls.

Having reached his fifty, he shifted gears, hoisting More over cover and despatching Prasidh over the square-leg fielder.

Vijay Hazare Trophy, Round 6, As it happened

The two partnerships he built -- 37 runs with Rohit Rayudu for the fifth wicket and 73 runs with C.V. Milind Kumar (36) for the seventh wicket -- ultimately proved crucial.

The wounded Karnataka will next take on the inform Chhattisgarh at the Chinnaswamy Stadium on Wednesday.

Elsewhere, Suryakumar Yadav (85, 71b, 9x4, 3x6) carried Mumbai to a much-needed five-wicket win over Saurashtra.

An 115-run association with Shubham Ranjane for the sixth wicket helped the defending champion chase down a 246-run target. Mumbai’s will next spar with Hyderabad on Friday.

Brief scores:

Group A (BENGALURU): Hyderabad 198 for nine in 50 overs (Ambati Rayudu 87 n.o., C.V. Milind Kumar 36) beat Karnataka 177 in 45.2 overs (Devdutt Padikkal 60, Manish Pandey 48, B. Sandeep four for 35).

Saurashtra 245 for nine in 50 overs (Shledon Jackson 35, Samarth Vyas 39, Arpit Vasavada 59, Chirag Jani 40 n.o., Shams Mulani three for 49) lost to Mumbai 248 for five in 48 overs (Shreyas Iyer 73, Suryakumar Yadav 85 n.o., Shubham Ranjane 45 n.o.).