Karnataka v Rest of India, Irani Cup, 4th day, Bangalore March 20, 2015

Karnataka retain Irani Cup with massive win

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Karnataka 244 (Agarwal 68, Nair 59, Reddy 54, Aaron 6-63) and 422 (Pandey 123*, Samarth 81, Nair 80, Thakur 5-86) beat Rest of India 264 (Jadhav 78, Mithun 3-46, Shreyas 3-51, Vinay 3-76) and 156 (Jadhav 56, Shreyas 4-39, Mithun 3-40) by 246 runs
Scorecard and ball- by-ball details

File photo - Manish Pandey struck 123 off 164 balls to lead Karnataka's charge © ESPNcricinfo Ltd

Karnataka became only the second state team to bag back-to-back Irani Cups after wrapping up a 246-run win over Rest of India with 50 minutes remaining on the fourth day. Set 403 to win, RoI were bowled out in 43.3 overs, their innings never recovering from a fiery new-ball burst from Abhimanyu Mithun that reduced them to 8 for 3.

Mithun removed Unmukt Chand with his third ball, swerving one away and provoking an indecisive prod that resulted in an edge to the keeper. It ended a miserable match for Unmukt, who made 0 and 1 and only lasted six balls across his two innings.

Three balls later, Mithun got one to straighten, keep low and hit Paras Dogra's off stump as the batsman, rooted to the crease, looked to work him across the line. In his next over, Mithun found late away movement and extra bounce from a tight off-stump line to square up Naman Ojha and force him to nick behind. Within four overs of the chase, RoI had lost all hope of winning or drawing the game.

Jiwanjot Singh and Manoj Tiwary saw RoI through to lunch and stretched their partnership an hour into the second session, before Karnataka struck again to remove both in the space of two runs and 14 balls.

There was no way back from 65 for 5, and Kedar Jadhav's second half-century of the match, a 48-ball 56, only provided a brief and entertaining spell of delayed gratification for the small but extremely vocal group of Karnataka supporters packed into the P4 stand. The legspinner Shreyas Gopal ran through RoI's lower order, picking up a four-wicket haul to finish with match figures of 7 for 90.

Resuming on 341 for 6, Karnataka were bowled out for 422 in a frenetic morning session that saw Manish Pandey race from 73 to 123 in 43 balls. Pandey was severe on Varun Aaron, hitting him for three fours and three sixes in two overs - which cost RoI 35 runs in total - putting away a barrage of short balls with dismissive ramps and uppercuts.

The only real bright spot for RoI on an otherwise chastening fourth day was a five-wicket haul for Shardul Thakur, his sixth of the season. Thakur had picked up R Samarth's wicket during the course of a testing post-lunch spell on day three, and he continued to impress while picking up the last four Karnataka wickets.

He found extra bounce to kiss the shoulder of Vinay Kumar's bat and break his 65-run seventh-wicket stand with Pandey, before cleaning up the last three wickets within his next five overs, ensuring Rest of India wouldn't spend too much longer on the field. They would be left craning their necks at a steep target, however, thanks to Pandey's blitz at the other end.

Karthik Krishnaswamy is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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  • Satyajit M on March 21, 2015, 17:23 GMT

    Well played karnataka cricket team. Wish u boys all d best for upcoming match. Good luck

  • Harish on March 21, 2015, 12:18 GMT

    Karun and Shreyas Gopal can join Rahul and Binny in the big stage. And Vinay has a wonderful temperament. what a fighter he is. This team is dangerous. They played the perfect 5 day match. Too bad RoI did not have stomach for the fight.

  • parameswaran on March 21, 2015, 9:42 GMT

    I agree with Murali Krishna. The ROI team selection was flawed. By packing the team with 27 plus players, they did great disservice to the domestic players. What was the outcome? Did the likes of Manoj, Pragyan Ojha,Naman Ojha, out of form Chand, Jiwanjoth show any fighting spirit? Was this a chance to Pragyan Ojha to practice his new action? How did so many non performers get chances in ROI team? Only Kedar, Aaron and Shardul showed the fighting spirit. And this is supposed to be the premium national tourney. They gave the cup in a platter to Karnataka. Can some body explain please? Mind you, I have nothing against Karnataka, who deserve to win.

  • parameswaran on March 21, 2015, 9:30 GMT

    Spin cupboard is almost bare. While Ashwin, Jadeja, Axar being the spinners in WC squad, there are very few young spinners who look promising. We need to train and nurture the likes of Kuldeep Yadav, Harmeet Singh, Shreyas Gopal, Malolan, Manan Sharma, Purkayastha, Parvez Rasool and the few other promising spinners. Let them work with the likes of Bedi, Chandra, Prasanna, Venkat and Kumble. Are there any young spinners around? We need to look at some young openers also to support Vijay and Rahul. May be Akhil, Tanmay and Srivats can be tried.

  • parameswaran on March 21, 2015, 9:01 GMT

    I was following the domestic season closely. There are very few bowlers who can be picked for tests in the next few seasons. We need to identify talent and groom them. Of the lot, Shardul, Anureet, Sandeep Sharma, Rush Kalaria, Rishi Dhawan, Mithun look better prospects. Many pacers are just trundlers who bowl at 125 kph only. International batsmen will take them apart.

  • parameswaran on March 21, 2015, 8:55 GMT

    Undoubtedly Karnataka look to be the best in the country now. With narrow escapes in a couple of games, just wonder whether a full strength Mumbai with Rohit, Rahane or Delhi with Kohli might have looked stronger. When will BCCI make Ranji knockouts more meaningful with test player presence and more even pitches giving support to pace and spin equally. But for now, take a bow, Karnataka for a wonderful season.

  • Vivek on March 21, 2015, 8:48 GMT

    Congrats to Karnataka team for winning three titles back to back. I am not denying the credit from Karnataka team but ROI team selection could be stronger. MY ROI team.: Vijay, Gambhir, Pujara, Manoj Tiwari, Yuvraj, Naman Ojha, Harbhajan, Thakur, Aeron, Ishwar Pandey, Kuldeep Yadav/P. Ojha. Still Karnataka can win the match but I think we could expect a better game.

  • Dummy4 on March 21, 2015, 8:44 GMT

    Fantabulous!! Karnataka for last couple of years or more. Whenever the team is in spot of bother, couple of lads pull up socks and put their hands up to pull team out of the jaws of loss. This team is full of match winners and don't depend on individuals all the time. Captain Vinay is a real street smart bloke or may be Karnataka's MSD. Let us hope Karnataka will contribute a lot to the world of cricket.

  • parameswaran on March 21, 2015, 8:33 GMT

    Great show by Karnataka who deserve all the praise. Led by Vinay, Karnataka were well served by Pandey, Mithun, Shreyas and Samarth. While Rahul is already in the test team, Pandey, Shreyas and Mithun also deserve chances. Vinay never looked test class when given chances earlier and he along with Utthappa may remain first class champions. Among other youngsters, Samson, Aprajith, Shreyas Iyer, Akhil Herwadkar, Sandeep Sharma, Shardul Thakur, Rush Kalaria, Anureet Singh, Ishan Kishan, Harmeet, Purkayastha, Hanuma Vihari, Vijay Shankar, Srivats Goswami, Tanmay Agarwal, Rishi Dhawan all deserve more chances and sustained support. You may add some more names, age and the right attitude should be encouraged. Let us please unearth some fast bowlers and finger spinners also. Pick up two teams and give them exposure across various countries and groom them.

  • Rajan on March 21, 2015, 8:23 GMT

    An observation after watching the ranji semi-finals and the Irani trophy live is that given a slightly green track, none of the batsmen who played in could get a good total on board. Totals of 44, 156, and low 200s were seen by all the teams including Karnataka (the champions) in the first innings. Something of a concern here considering it is from this lot of players that selectors have to choose as to who are likely to represent India in the future.

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