Karnataka retain Irani Cup with massive win
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
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