Vijay Hazare Trophy: Karnataka into quarters after seamers script 16-run win

T. Pradeep and Prasidh Krishna took eight wickets between them as Karnataka defeated a resilient Railways side by 16 runs.

M. Prasidh Krishna claimed 4 for 35.   -  G. P. Sampath Kumar

Karnataka scraped past a resilient Railways side by 16 runs to advance to the quarterfinals of the Vijay Hazare Trophy here on Friday. In the absence of the home team's senior fast bowlers, young T. Pradeep (four for 48) and Prasidh Krishna (four for 35) took charge to help defend a modest 257 in a thriller at the Alur grounds.

The contest seemed over when Railways slipped to 54 for six inside 13 overs. But Ankit Yadav (51), Anureet Singh (59), Avinash Yadav (40), and Amit Mishra (28) – numbers seven through 10 – dug in as their side moved to the brink of victory. There were nervous moments till the very end; the tie was finally decided when Pradeep took an excellent diving catch running in from the third man boundary to dismiss Mishra. Karnataka will now face Hyderabad in the quarterfinals in Delhi on Wednesday.

With R. Vinay Kumar injured, and S. Arvind and Abhimanyu Mithun rested, Karnataka needed Pradeep, Prasidh Krishna and Ronit More to pull their weight in a must-win clash. And they did not disappoint. Prasidh struck in the third ball of the run chase, forcing Saurabh Wakaskar to edge a rising delivery behind. Pradeep swung into action at the other end, bowling Asadulla Khan neck and crop with his first delivery. After switching ends, he removed Mrunal Devdhar and Chanderpal Saini in the space of three balls, reducing Railways to 36 for four.

Rearguard effort

There was help for the seamers, with the bounce not always consistent, and Karnataka's trio made merry. Six down inside an hour, it seemed Railways had little chance but Anureet had other ideas. A smart, all-round cricketer, he counter-punched, bludgeoning five sixes – three of which sailed over the boundary wall – in his 71-ball effort. Ankit Yadav and he added 91 runs for the seventh wicket, dragging Railways back into contention.

When More bowled Anureet in the 32nd over, it appeared the decisive blow had been struck. But Ankit and Avinash then hung on, adding 55 runs (47b) for the eighth wicket. It was Prasidh Krishna who made the crucial intervention, having both batsmen edge behind. When Mishra sliced the 21-year-old towards third man a little later, Karnataka exhaled in relief.

Earlier, Karun Nair elected to bat first after winning the toss. There was clearly life in the pitch, Mishra and Anureet reducing the home side to 41 for three. It was left to Mayank Agarwal – on his 27th birthday – to shore things up. Over these last few months the opener has batted as if in a dream, and he continued in the same vein here, falling 11 short of what would have been an eighth hundred in all formats this domestic season. Pavan Deshpande kept him company, making a fluent 65 (67b, 9x4, 1x6) as the pair added 132 runs for the fourth wicket. Both batsmen fell in the space of 18 balls, however, and Karnataka collapsed from 173 for three to 257 all out. It would prove enough in the end, but only just.

The scores
  • Karnataka 257 in 48.1 overs (Mayank Agarwal 89, Pavan Deshpande 65, K. Gowtham 25, Anureet Singh 4 for 36, Amit Mishra 3 for 45) bt Railways 241 in 47.1 overs (Anureet Singh 59, Ankit Yadav 51, Avinash Yadav 40, Amit Mishra 28, Mrunal Devdhar 26, Prasidh Krishna 4 for 35, T. Pradeep 4 for 48).
  • Haryana 170 in 45.4 overs (S.D. Dhull 72, Harshal Patel 50, Deepak Behera 6 for 22) lost to Odisha 172 for one in 31.4 overs (Anurag Sarangi 84 n.o., Shantanu Mishra 53 n.o., Rajesh Dhuper 28).
  • Baroda 378 for seven in 50 overs (Aditya Waghmode 148, Kedar Devdhar 61, Deepak Hooda 41, Swapnil Singh 36, Yusuf Pathan 27) bt Assam 99 in 30 overs (Parviz Aziz 50).

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