Karnataka captain Manish Pandey looked forlorn after his side suffered a five-wicket loss to Uttar Pradesh in the Ranji Trophy quarterfinal in Bengaluru. His arms folded, slumped low in his chair, tired eyes looking down at his feet, Pandey answered tough questions from the media on a poor batting show which cost the team dear.
Despite the presence of established players like Mayank Agarwal, Karun Nair, R. Samarth, Shreyas Gopal, K. Gowtham and Pandey, the home team only managed totals of 253 and 114. The manner of dismissals was most shocking, as batters took a careless approach and threw away their wickets. Pandey was honest to admit that his own dismissal in the second innings, courtesy a needless run-out, did not help the cause.
The collapse in the second innings will hurt, as it undid Karnataka’s handy 98-run first-innings advantage. The silver lining for Karnataka was the fine performance of an inexperienced bowling attack. Pacers V. Vyshak and V. Kaverappa, both playing their second First-class match, kept a good length and got appreciable movement to pick up regular breakthroughs.
Uttar Pradesh captain Karan Sharma led by example. Karan, featuring in his fourth First-Class outing, displayed all the patience and courage required for this long format. His unbeaten 93 in the second essay proved that there were no demons in the Alur grounds pitch. All it took was judicious strokeplay and a calm mind — qualities that Karan showed in abundance.
Uttar Pradesh left-arm spinner Saurabh Kumar shone bright, picking up seven wickets for the match. Keeping an immaculate line just outside off, Saurabh presented a test of patience for the batters. More often than not, the sustained pressure applied by Saurabh produced a false shot and a wicket.
Uttar Pradesh rejoiced, while Karnataka had an outing to forget.
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