Punjab v Karnataka, Ranji Trophy, semi-finals, Mohali, 4th day January 21, 2014

Bad light further dims Punjab hopes

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Karnataka 447 for 5 (Nair 151*, Verma 114*, Pandey 65) lead Punjab 270 (Jiwanjot 74, Vinay 5-27, Shreyas 3-92) by 177 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Barring an outlandish day of cricket on Wednesday, Karnataka will take on Maharashtra in the Ranji final next week. Bad light allowed only 36.1 overs of play on the fourth day in Mohali, which robbed Punjab of the time they needed if they were to mount a dramatic comeback after having conceded the first-innings lead.

The loss of overs means Karnataka's streak of outright victories is likely to end at six, but they won't mind that minor blip as the weather strengthened their position in the semi-finals. The umpires had the light-meter out even before the first ball was bowled on a gloomy morning, and the device made frequent appearances through a day of stop-start action.

When the light was good enough to play, Punjab's bowling attack wasn't good enough to make a breakthrough on what was still a reasonably good track to bat on. The overnight batsmen, Karun Nair and Amit Verma, stretched their partnership to 206 before play was stopped for the final time in the day.

The moment of the day came in the 133rd over when Verma cracked a short and wide ball past point to bring up his century. Verma had been an integral part of the Karnataka side when they last reached the Ranji final, four seasons ago. This year, however, this was his first game. The frustration of having been on the sidelines all season gave way to sheer joy, as he immediately threw his hands up in the air after playing the shot. He jumped and screamed, arm windmilling as he enjoyed the moment.

There wasn't much joy for Punjab all day. Nair was less assured than he had been on Monday, getting beaten or edging the ball several times, but he didn't throw away his wicket, marching on to an unbeaten 151. Karnataka's lead was 177 at stumps, and with the forecast not the best for the final day, there is virtually no chance for Punjab to come back in this game.

Siddarth Ravindran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • dummy4fb on January 22, 2014, 7:21 GMT

    Funny that even yesterday somebody had offered tips (in steps!!) for Punjab to win this tie.Though nothing can be predicted in Cricket, I am sure Karnataka, my home team are Champs.

  • GirishMallenahally on January 22, 2014, 5:12 GMT

    I remember, Karun Nair was allowed to practice with Karnataka Ranji Team and he was considered to be "Next Tendulkar" when he was just 14 year old. May he reach greater heights.

  • dummy4fb on January 21, 2014, 21:51 GMT

    Good luck for the Karnataka team for the finals.

  • dummy4fb on January 21, 2014, 14:09 GMT

    Well played Nair... Good luck Karnataka for finals.....was Hoping for yuvraj's come back innings yest.. but disappointed......

  • dummy4fb on January 21, 2014, 13:40 GMT

    good luckkarnataka but in final do not take maharastra lighly

  • Bijap on January 21, 2014, 13:12 GMT

    First of all its a big mistake by the board to schedule semifinal at Mohali at this particular time. Even though karnataka were the table toppers they played the semifinal away from home i don't understand what bcci thinks. It definitely spoiled a good match if the weather was clear all 5 days. Now there is no chance for Punjab to comeback in this game. Karnatka are the table toppers and will go on to win the ranji final. what a season for karnataka great display of cricket.

  • prashanthprash on January 21, 2014, 13:09 GMT

    I wanted Karnataka to win and equal the record of outright wins. disappointed by d bcci brains..

  • dummy4fb on January 21, 2014, 13:04 GMT

    Mohali does have floodlights. Was this not an option for the (ch)umps?? A good cricket match reduced to a three+ day Ranji farce.. Trust the finals will be played for its entirety.

  • android_user on January 21, 2014, 12:56 GMT

    punjab 2014 ranji seson over thanks to vinay he given chance to karnataka .one setion went to karnataka way .every body this seson hunger to win ranji trophy ..alk the best fr final..

  • dummy4fb on January 21, 2014, 12:49 GMT

    Sad that a semi final was hosted in such weather conditions. Punjab should have allowed bright and sunny Bangalore or Mysore to host the match. There would have been a cracker of a contest. BCCI should consider if the Ranji season can be advanced to finish before November 01. Most parts of North India has weather conditions that does not help a good match in late November to January

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