Karnataka v UP, Ranji Trophy, 3rd quarter-final, 4th day, Bangalore January 11, 2014

Sixth straight win takes Karnataka to semis

21

Karnataka 349 (Uthappa 100, Nair 100, Gautam 100) and 204 (Rahul 92, Murtaza 6-64) beat Uttar Pradesh 221 for 9 dec (Parvinder 92, Mithun 4-70) and 240 (Chawla 44, Gopal 5-59, Mithun 3-71) by 92 runs
Scorecard

Experience. That is what Karnataka had and Uttar Pradesh lacked. Experience in batting, in bowling, in playing hard, in recovering from bad situations. A combination of all that today helped Vinay Kumar to lead Karnataka into their first semi-finals after two years.

278 runs was what UP needed when Tanmay Srivasatava and Ali Murtaza resumed on Saturday. Srivastava started confidently, taking seven runs off the first over from Abhimanyu Mithun when he pitched wide and short. In Mithun's third over, Murtaza rocked back in his crease to guide a short ball between the two point fielders for a boundary.

But the big question for UP was could they maintain a steady tempo throughout the chase? The answer came within half hour of play on Saturday morning. Vinay and Mithun had been feeding easy hit-me balls erring mostly on the shorter side, which the two UP left-handers took advantage of. But Vinay corrected his lengths.

Vinay switched to round the stumps for Srivastava and moved Robin Uthappa from silly mid-on to first slip and then bowled closer to the off stump, fuller and swung the ball away. Srivastava, who had been going for his strokes, edged and was picked safely by Manish Pandey at second slip.

Mohammad Kaif checked in and out as if he was picking a toll ticket, spooning an easy catch to Vinay at short cover. It was Kaif's second duck in the match. Srivastava, the acting captain after RP Singh was injured on the first afternoon, admitted the failure of Kaif this season was a major reason behind UP's batting failures this season. He was not pointing any fingers. The evidence is out there: four ducks and a highest score of 49 in 13 innings for the most senior and experienced player is plain embarrassing.

A streetsmart cricketer, Murtaza showed more resolve than any other batsman as he confronted both the bowlers and the constant talking of Karnataka fielders. Being from a state where chit-chat is part of the culture, Murtaza shot back and once even walked up to Uthappa, only to be separated by Karnataka players.

But before he was out in a comical circumstance, Murtaza had ruffled Karnataka. As soon as spin was introduced, Murtaza charged legspinner Shreyas Gopal off his first ball for a four over long-on. When Pandey pitched fuller on the off stump, Murtaza punched him behind square for another easy four.

However, Murtaza was defeated by his own excitement. He made his attacking intentions clear by charging once again against Gopal. But this time Gopal bowled short and straight. Murtaza was caught unaware and instead of trying to defend or hit the ball, he tried to return to his crease. He would have been embarrassed to realise his mistake as he was bowled. Karnataka and the home fans had a loud chuckle at Murtaza's expense.

"This kind of a situation will not come again. This is not a league match. We needed to be in the face of the opposition. Murtaza is not a specialist batsman but he was picking his balls cleverly. In this kind of wicket you cannot defend for long. You need to attack. Murtaza is basically a bowler. He had come to go after us. That was the only way to stop him getting runs. So we misguided him with some loose balls and bowling to his weakness and that worked for us," Vinay said, defending Karnataka's hard-ball tactics.

Piyush Chawla and Eklavya Dwivedi nearly proved Vinay wrong as they judiciously picked the balls to score some easy runs while remaining alert to the quirks of a weary and steadily breaking pitch. But UP's hopes were punctured soon when Dwivedi played a leg-side delivery from Mithun towards midwicket where an alert Vinay dived forward to take a spectacular catch inches from the ground.

That was the end of UP's resistance as Gopal finished his maiden five-for before Vinay sent Ankit Rajpoot's middle stump flying to seal Karnataka's win.

"We are dependent on just two or three players," Srivastava said. "Kaif bhai is one of our key players and he was down the entire season batting at No. 3. And we fell short in the batting department due to that."

Karnataka, who had five outright victories, the highest by any team during the league matches, would be happy they managed to live up to the favourites tag. But it was not a victory where they stamped their authority in convincing fashion. The fielding errors during UP's first innings were glaring. The top order continues to be brittle. Although Mithun finished as the Man of the Match, he was only effective in patches. And in the end it was Vinay's leadership that played a vital role in Karnataka not letting their guard down completely.

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on January 12, 2014, 12:20 GMT

    Kaarnataka has a team with experienced and talented young ones. Thier strngth is battery of pacers, i presume that no other team has such a talent. Even couple of t pacers can not make it for the match due to injury still they have a excellent reserve bowlers which ensure no reduction in quality. Young spinners are effective. The team also have a great quality batsmen like Utahapa, Pande, Rahul and Karun. I am sure that this team has a great chance to become champions which enable the talented guys to stake claims for the national team. Good luck Karnataka.

  • GNANESHWAR on January 13, 2014, 5:53 GMT

    KL Rahul is a great prospect for india. He could be selected in the national team in the place of Rohit sharma who is wasting a place in the indian team for 6years.I don't know why the selectors are persisting with him.Give chance to those who perform well rather than giving rohit sharma so much of chances.

  • on January 12, 2014, 12:27 GMT

    For quarter finals Ranji trophy the neutral centres have been changed. Whether is follow suit for Finals too as Hyderabad team is not qualified. It is wishful thinking that the match is to be played in one of the centres that reaches Final.

  • RushSri on January 11, 2014, 19:15 GMT

    Many Congratulations to all the members of Karnataka team, to all the support staff including Coach on reaching the Semis. My team for the semis: Mayank Agarwal, R, Uthappa, KL Rahul, Manish Pandey, Karun Nair, CM Gautam, Shreyas Gopal, Vinay Kumar*, Abhimanyu Mithun, Ronit More, HS Sharath** If HS Sharath is injured/not fit, then A.Kazi/S.Aravind/R.Samarth can replace him depending on the pitch conditions in Mohali. Go & get Ranji trophy this time, as all fans are waiting since 1998-99 (15 long years). It came very near in 2009-10 (5 years) back, it was so near, but yet so far, the trophy for 7th time remains elusive...

  • on January 11, 2014, 17:56 GMT

    At last Karnataka has exorcised their UP demons. We lost two Ranji tournaments for no reason and this win has erased those memories. Karnataka now need to focus on the fielding and the annoying craze to pitch too short in the semis

  • ABP235 on January 11, 2014, 17:42 GMT

    It is really sad that the readers havent remembered one great knock. Carrying the bat for 92 off the team total of 204, the young KL Rahul showed why he is a great talent coming up the junior ranks. Yes there were 3 exact centurions, some revival bowling by Mithun & team but the second innings great knock of this youngster was the clincher at the end. Go on lil wonder.

  • TNAmarkFromIndia on January 11, 2014, 17:16 GMT

    How did Karnataka win so many matches in a row with bowlers that have been doing poorly at the international stage for the last 5 or so years?

  • on January 11, 2014, 17:13 GMT

    go karnataka this time ranji trophy yurs no dowts ..comon robin one more cenchury in mohali..

  • cricketanyday on January 11, 2014, 16:05 GMT

    Karnataka enters Semi-final...Great!!! although they managed to win against U.P through team work, I really feel the batsmen in particular in their heart of hearts know they let the team down by getting out playing some atrocious shots at crucial junctures, which enabled U.P to claw back into the match. They need to tighten their game even further against Punjab at Mohali, because they will be aware, in both the innings the top order collapsed in the first hour because of the moisture in the wicket and the winter nip in the air of Bangalore. Mohali will help fast bowlers even further. so Boys please tighten your game and no harm in being circumspect when the going is tough, we all know you are a champion side and we want to see you lifting the coveted trophy this time. praying Sharath will be fit for the match who I feel will represent India in near future and expect Mayank to play in middle order in place of injured Samarth.

  • Army_rangers on January 11, 2014, 16:01 GMT

    Vinay is really intelligent captain..he is the main reason for ktka's success.but i think gautham too need to be appreciated bcz the way he led the team in the absence of vinay was just awesome..he was thinking like ms does for india..so,its actually good for ktka that we have good skipper and his deputy..

  • on January 12, 2014, 12:20 GMT

    Kaarnataka has a team with experienced and talented young ones. Thier strngth is battery of pacers, i presume that no other team has such a talent. Even couple of t pacers can not make it for the match due to injury still they have a excellent reserve bowlers which ensure no reduction in quality. Young spinners are effective. The team also have a great quality batsmen like Utahapa, Pande, Rahul and Karun. I am sure that this team has a great chance to become champions which enable the talented guys to stake claims for the national team. Good luck Karnataka.

  • GNANESHWAR on January 13, 2014, 5:53 GMT

    KL Rahul is a great prospect for india. He could be selected in the national team in the place of Rohit sharma who is wasting a place in the indian team for 6years.I don't know why the selectors are persisting with him.Give chance to those who perform well rather than giving rohit sharma so much of chances.

  • on January 12, 2014, 12:27 GMT

    For quarter finals Ranji trophy the neutral centres have been changed. Whether is follow suit for Finals too as Hyderabad team is not qualified. It is wishful thinking that the match is to be played in one of the centres that reaches Final.

  • RushSri on January 11, 2014, 19:15 GMT

    Many Congratulations to all the members of Karnataka team, to all the support staff including Coach on reaching the Semis. My team for the semis: Mayank Agarwal, R, Uthappa, KL Rahul, Manish Pandey, Karun Nair, CM Gautam, Shreyas Gopal, Vinay Kumar*, Abhimanyu Mithun, Ronit More, HS Sharath** If HS Sharath is injured/not fit, then A.Kazi/S.Aravind/R.Samarth can replace him depending on the pitch conditions in Mohali. Go & get Ranji trophy this time, as all fans are waiting since 1998-99 (15 long years). It came very near in 2009-10 (5 years) back, it was so near, but yet so far, the trophy for 7th time remains elusive...

  • on January 11, 2014, 17:56 GMT

    At last Karnataka has exorcised their UP demons. We lost two Ranji tournaments for no reason and this win has erased those memories. Karnataka now need to focus on the fielding and the annoying craze to pitch too short in the semis

  • ABP235 on January 11, 2014, 17:42 GMT

    It is really sad that the readers havent remembered one great knock. Carrying the bat for 92 off the team total of 204, the young KL Rahul showed why he is a great talent coming up the junior ranks. Yes there were 3 exact centurions, some revival bowling by Mithun & team but the second innings great knock of this youngster was the clincher at the end. Go on lil wonder.

  • TNAmarkFromIndia on January 11, 2014, 17:16 GMT

    How did Karnataka win so many matches in a row with bowlers that have been doing poorly at the international stage for the last 5 or so years?

  • on January 11, 2014, 17:13 GMT

    go karnataka this time ranji trophy yurs no dowts ..comon robin one more cenchury in mohali..

  • cricketanyday on January 11, 2014, 16:05 GMT

    Karnataka enters Semi-final...Great!!! although they managed to win against U.P through team work, I really feel the batsmen in particular in their heart of hearts know they let the team down by getting out playing some atrocious shots at crucial junctures, which enabled U.P to claw back into the match. They need to tighten their game even further against Punjab at Mohali, because they will be aware, in both the innings the top order collapsed in the first hour because of the moisture in the wicket and the winter nip in the air of Bangalore. Mohali will help fast bowlers even further. so Boys please tighten your game and no harm in being circumspect when the going is tough, we all know you are a champion side and we want to see you lifting the coveted trophy this time. praying Sharath will be fit for the match who I feel will represent India in near future and expect Mayank to play in middle order in place of injured Samarth.

  • Army_rangers on January 11, 2014, 16:01 GMT

    Vinay is really intelligent captain..he is the main reason for ktka's success.but i think gautham too need to be appreciated bcz the way he led the team in the absence of vinay was just awesome..he was thinking like ms does for india..so,its actually good for ktka that we have good skipper and his deputy..

  • on January 11, 2014, 15:45 GMT

    The Karnataka first-innings scorecard sounds quite bizarre. Five zeros and 3 exact hundreds. Has anybody seen/know of such an instance before?

  • Farce-Follower on January 11, 2014, 15:12 GMT

    Vinay is fast approaching legend status. Hope he turns out to be like that other tireless son of Karnataka cricket - Sunil Joshi.

  • on January 11, 2014, 14:40 GMT

    Karnataka should go with 4 seamers Vinay, Mithun, Sharat and More in Mohali as this pitch favors fast bowling. Kazi needs to be dropped, and Shreays Gopal is lone spinning option. Hope Sharath recovers by next match.

  • on January 11, 2014, 13:49 GMT

    Vinay is a domestic giant. Sad that he couldn't replicate the same at international level.

  • on January 11, 2014, 13:41 GMT

    A great relief to be on better side of the result table. Now questions haunting are, will Sharath be injury-free for next match ? Else who will replace him ? Will Abrar Kazi be replaced by Appanna. Anyway, believe Vinay Kumar can get through Punjab hurdle as well. Glory for Gandaberunda!

  • RajeshNaik on January 11, 2014, 13:35 GMT

    I am in total agreement with the author that it is not a convincing win. It is just a win. Again it is the bowlers who saved the day. Karnataka need to to some serious introspection on its spin bowling. Neither Kazi (5 wickets at 59.2 from 5 matches) nor Appanna (11 wickets at 42.73 from 5 matches) have been able to make any impression. In fact the late entrant in to the team Shreyas Gopal has been a sensation so far with 15 wickets at 13.87 from 3 matches. It would be unjust too to expect the same performance from the youngster in every match. In place of Kazi/Appanna, whether to go with the impressive Ronit More or an extra batsmen, considering the suspicious batting, is the most important call that JAK & MAK have to take (Coach J Arun Kumar and bowling coach Mansoor Ali Khan).

  • vivajay on January 11, 2014, 13:31 GMT

    well done Karnataka. Initially it looked like low score from Karnataka in 2nd inning might pose a problem, however Vinay and team did a good job. The next match against Punjab in Mohali is not so easy, Karnataka's week point is batting, Ravi samarth should be omitted, instead of him Kunal Kapoor should be tried.

  • ChintuThePhoenix on January 11, 2014, 13:26 GMT

    Karnataka just scraped through. Batting was not up to the mark and too many dropped catches. Allowed UP to get away to a reasonable score after being down 65/6. I hope they do better in semis.

  • RajeshNaik on January 11, 2014, 13:22 GMT

    I have always been a big fan of Vinay Kumar. He is known as a very clever captain in the Indian domestic circuit. The way he plans and gets the players out speaks volumes about his knowledge of the game as a captain. Last season (or may be season before that) when Karnataka played Mumbai at Mumbai, Vinay's leadership skills helped Karnataka win that match on first innings lead. The writer is spot on when he says that Vinay's leadership skills played a big part in Karnataka managing to beat UP. It is unfortunate that he is often ridiculed by Indian cricket fans when he plays for the country, even though he provides vital breakthroughs, fields well, never drops a catch, never misfields and is a committed team man.

  • on January 11, 2014, 13:16 GMT

    Congratulations Karnataka- Key to Karnataka's outright victories has been the excellent teamwork. Every one of the players contributed in one match or other. Outstanding performance of Shreyas Gopal today especially with Sharath down with an injury, was very crucial and so were the 3 first innings centuries as well as Rahul's 92 n.o. Experienced bowlers like Vinay and Mithun did very well to take them to semis. Karnataka blooded a very young team with so many debutantes. Best of luck to the team at Mohalli

  • Army_rangers on January 11, 2014, 11:52 GMT

    Completely agree with you nagaraj.it wasnt very convincing win for ktka unlike last matches..at some moment i thought they would choke as usual..but yeah,in the end vinay's captaincy made the difference..now they have to correct their fielding errors and batsmans,please atleast now stand up and deliver..all the best guys.

  • Army_rangers on January 11, 2014, 11:52 GMT

    Completely agree with you nagaraj.it wasnt very convincing win for ktka unlike last matches..at some moment i thought they would choke as usual..but yeah,in the end vinay's captaincy made the difference..now they have to correct their fielding errors and batsmans,please atleast now stand up and deliver..all the best guys.

  • on January 11, 2014, 13:16 GMT

    Congratulations Karnataka- Key to Karnataka's outright victories has been the excellent teamwork. Every one of the players contributed in one match or other. Outstanding performance of Shreyas Gopal today especially with Sharath down with an injury, was very crucial and so were the 3 first innings centuries as well as Rahul's 92 n.o. Experienced bowlers like Vinay and Mithun did very well to take them to semis. Karnataka blooded a very young team with so many debutantes. Best of luck to the team at Mohalli

  • RajeshNaik on January 11, 2014, 13:22 GMT

    I have always been a big fan of Vinay Kumar. He is known as a very clever captain in the Indian domestic circuit. The way he plans and gets the players out speaks volumes about his knowledge of the game as a captain. Last season (or may be season before that) when Karnataka played Mumbai at Mumbai, Vinay's leadership skills helped Karnataka win that match on first innings lead. The writer is spot on when he says that Vinay's leadership skills played a big part in Karnataka managing to beat UP. It is unfortunate that he is often ridiculed by Indian cricket fans when he plays for the country, even though he provides vital breakthroughs, fields well, never drops a catch, never misfields and is a committed team man.

  • ChintuThePhoenix on January 11, 2014, 13:26 GMT

    Karnataka just scraped through. Batting was not up to the mark and too many dropped catches. Allowed UP to get away to a reasonable score after being down 65/6. I hope they do better in semis.

  • vivajay on January 11, 2014, 13:31 GMT

    well done Karnataka. Initially it looked like low score from Karnataka in 2nd inning might pose a problem, however Vinay and team did a good job. The next match against Punjab in Mohali is not so easy, Karnataka's week point is batting, Ravi samarth should be omitted, instead of him Kunal Kapoor should be tried.

  • RajeshNaik on January 11, 2014, 13:35 GMT

    I am in total agreement with the author that it is not a convincing win. It is just a win. Again it is the bowlers who saved the day. Karnataka need to to some serious introspection on its spin bowling. Neither Kazi (5 wickets at 59.2 from 5 matches) nor Appanna (11 wickets at 42.73 from 5 matches) have been able to make any impression. In fact the late entrant in to the team Shreyas Gopal has been a sensation so far with 15 wickets at 13.87 from 3 matches. It would be unjust too to expect the same performance from the youngster in every match. In place of Kazi/Appanna, whether to go with the impressive Ronit More or an extra batsmen, considering the suspicious batting, is the most important call that JAK & MAK have to take (Coach J Arun Kumar and bowling coach Mansoor Ali Khan).

  • on January 11, 2014, 13:41 GMT

    A great relief to be on better side of the result table. Now questions haunting are, will Sharath be injury-free for next match ? Else who will replace him ? Will Abrar Kazi be replaced by Appanna. Anyway, believe Vinay Kumar can get through Punjab hurdle as well. Glory for Gandaberunda!

  • on January 11, 2014, 13:49 GMT

    Vinay is a domestic giant. Sad that he couldn't replicate the same at international level.

  • on January 11, 2014, 14:40 GMT

    Karnataka should go with 4 seamers Vinay, Mithun, Sharat and More in Mohali as this pitch favors fast bowling. Kazi needs to be dropped, and Shreays Gopal is lone spinning option. Hope Sharath recovers by next match.

  • Farce-Follower on January 11, 2014, 15:12 GMT

    Vinay is fast approaching legend status. Hope he turns out to be like that other tireless son of Karnataka cricket - Sunil Joshi.