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The Report by Siddarth Ravindran in Hubli
December 24, 2012
Karnataka 272 (Kapoor 106, Harshal 5-79) and 63 for 0 trail Haryana 587 for 9 dec (Yadav 211, Mishra 202*, Sunny 56) by 252 runs
"As long as I play cricket I will remember Hubli, since I scored my first hundred and double-hundred here and my recall to the Indian team also came here," Haryana captain Amit Mishra had said on Sunday. Karnataka will have less fond memories of the city, though, since their batting buckled in little more than two sessions to leave them needing a miracle to reach the knockout stages. Haryana started the round in seventh place, qualification looking a long way away, but an outright victory here will keep them in the hunt for reaching the next stage.
Quick bowler Harshal Patel, whose eight-wicket haul ground Karnataka's campaign to a halt in the quarter-finals last season, had to be content with five this time, as the home team keeled over for 272. He started the slide by getting opener KL Rahul caught at point early in the morning, and returned in the second session to remove Karnataka's highest run-getter this season, CM Gautam, lbw for 21.
The passage that had the crowd most excited, though, was Patel's burst to the tailenders. First SL Akshay was undone by a sharp bouncer that he could only fend to gully, and Ronit More shouldered arms to be bowled off the very next ball as Karnataka skidded to 226 for 8.
The vast difference between the sides in the match was highlighted by their eighth-wicket stands: Haryana's was a Ranji record 392 runs spanning 111 overs, Karnataka's yielded no runs and lasted only one delivery. For the hat-trick ball, Haryana crowded KP Appanna with seven men around the bat and Patel delivered a pinpoint yorker, but Appanna managed to squeeze it out to the leg side.
Much of the damage in the morning session was done by Mishra, who got the big wickets of Robin Uthappa and Manish Pandey. Uthappa had looked in good form, reaching his half-century off 58 balls as Karnataka looked to pull off a repeat of their massive chase against Tamil Nadu. Off the next ball, though, he attempted a sweep and was given lbw, a decision he wasn't too happy with, standing at the crease for a few moments looking at the umpire before trudging off.
Manish Pandey was bowled for 7, and Joginder Sharma, playing only his third game in 2012, removed both Stuart Binny and Amit Verma in quick succession.
The one Karnataka batsman who can be pleased with his efforts on the day is Kunal Kapoor, who reached his maiden first-class century. It came in his third match and will be a huge relief after his previous scores this season were 11, 6, 8* and 7. He began with an edge down to third man off his first ball, but grew in confidence as the innings progressed. There were plenty of driven boundaries, a flick for six to fine leg and was confident on the pull as well when Haryana pitched it short. He reached his hundred with a glide to third man, with the No. 11 for company, and though the crowd cheered, they had little else to be happy about with Karnataka's performance.
Siddarth Ravindran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfoFeeds: Siddarth Ravindran
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