Asnodkar helps Goa stun Karnataka
Swapnil Asnodkar and Reagan Pinto inspired Goa to a tense 10-run win over fancied Karnataka on the opening day of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy in Visakhapatnam. Asnodkar blasted a 48-ball 71 before retiring hurt to power Goa to a competitive 158 for 4 against an attack with four players with IPL contracts, including Anil Kumble (0-40). One of Bangalore's IPL stars, Manish Pandey, set Karnataka on course with a quick 44, but after his dismissal in the 10th over Goa started to pull things back. Amit Yadav struck twice to leave Karnataka needing 50 off the final five overs, but even more telling was Sher Yadav's twin blows in the 19th over, removing big-hitting R Jonathan and Vinay Kumar. That left Karnataka 12 adrift going into the last over. Pinto, on Twenty20 debut, sent down a nerveless four deliveries, scalping the two remaining batsmen to seal Goa's victory.
In another 10-run win, though less tense, Hyderabad prevailed over Andhra. Half-centuries from ICL-returnee Ambati Rayudu and debutant Abhinav Kumar helped Hyderabad motor to 176. Andhra looked to be out of the game when they stuttered to 48 for 3 in the eighth over, but they fought back with a dynamic 60-run stand between Gnaneswara Rao and another former ICL player, Syed Sahabuddin. Rao battled till the end, slamming three sixes during a 41-ball 71, but the double-digit asking-rate ultimately proved too much for him.
Tamil Nadu overpowered Kerala by 49 runs in the day's most one-sided match. Half-centuries from M Vijay and AB Karthik drove Tamil Nadu to an imposing 134 for 1 after 13 overs. Two-hundred looked on the cards but medium-pacer Nizar Niyas removed both in the 14th over to limit Tamil Nadu to 180. The match was effectively over when Kerala lost three wickets for five runs to slump to 78 for 5 in the 13th over. Offspinners R Ashwin and Suresh Kumar were the standout bowlers, taking three wickets each to derail Kerala.