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December 22, 2013
Karnataka 228 for 7 (Rahul 120, Thakur 2-49) v Mumbai
KL Rahul continued to make the most of his rich form by scoring his second century this season, but Mumbai remained in control after opting to bowl on the first day in Bangalore. On a slow day that saw table-toppers Karnataka lose seven wickets, only Rahul provided resistance against an incisive Mumbai bowling attack and remained unbeaten at the end of the day.
Karnataka's resurgence in the league stage has coincided with Rahul's form; he has contributed heavily with the bat in each of the team's previous four matches, from which they have collected 22 points. After missing on centuries in the last two matches, Rahul was relieved it wasn't a hat-trick of 90s when he reached his hundred with a dab to cover.
Despite a number of drives and pulls, it wasn't a flawless innings as Rahul had trouble dealing with the left-arm spin of Vishal Dabholkar. He was lucky to survive a couple of shouts for caught behind. But he held one end up to push Karnataka past 200 as Mumbai's bowlers made regular strikes at the other.
Mumbai had insipid outings with the ball in their previous two matches, but they ran in purposefully, with debutant left-arm seamer Saurabh Netravalkar providing the first breakthrough when he had Ravikumar Samarth, another debutant, edging to slip. They kept a lid on scoring and when the ball started to reverse, Shardul Thakur made it count.
Thakur produced prodigious inswing and caught Manish Pandey plumb in front with a full delivery, only for the third umpire to rule it not out as the bowler had overstepped. He didn't let it affect him and beat Pandey with another searing yorker in his next over to uproot the middle stump. CM Gautam had no answers to a similar delivery and was sent back next ball.
Stuart Binny and Rahul resisted Mumbai for 28.2 overs with a half-century stand, but by the end of the day, Mumbai's bowlers seemed to have justified their captain's decision to field.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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