Karnataka v Maharashtra, Ranji Trophy 2013-14, final

Bawne stars, neither team in clear ascendence

The Report by Karthik Krishnaswamy in Hyderabad

January 29, 2014

Comments: 14 | Text size: A | A

Maharashtra 272 for 5 (Bawne 89*, Khurana 64) v Karnataka
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Ankit Bawne scored his third consecutive fifty, Karnataka v Maharashtra, Ranji Trophy final, 1st day, Hyderabad, January 29, 2014
Ankit Bawne, to Maharashtra's rescue again © ESPNcricinfo Ltd
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Twice, in the 45th over of the day, Chirag Khurana shuffled a big distance across his stumps, and Shreyas Gopal's legbreak spun an even bigger distance in the same direction. The first ball squirted off the outside edge for two, the second ran off the back pad for four. Turn, on the first day of a five-day match. The first day of the Ranji Trophy final.

And yet, Karnataka's bowling attack contained only one specialist spinner. At the end of day one, they had extracted 11 overs from Gopal and 11 from part-time spinners Karun Nair, Amit Verma and Ganesh Satish. Sreenath Aravind sent down 18 overs of left-arm seam and five overs of left-arm spin.

It was Aravind's versatility that convinced Karnataka to play just one specialist spinner, but he looked neither threatening nor tight in his five overs of spin on Wednesday. Maharashtra's batsmen, for most part, handled all the Karnataka bowlers comfortably. Nothing disturbed Ankit Bawne's serenity as he ended the day unbeaten on 89.

And yet, as he walked off the field to an ovation from his team-mates and support staff, Maharashtra were 272 for 5. They hadn't made a bad start to their first final in 21 years, but they never once moved from a position of parity to one of strength. The partnerships for third, fourth and fifth wickets were worth 48, 54 and 71 respectively. Maharashtra may have considered themselves on top if one of them had crossed the 100-run mark. They might yet do so if their sixth-wicket pair of Bawne and Sangram Atitkar - who featured in the partnership that swung their semifinal against Bengal - extend theirs from 57 to a large three-digit number on the second day.

But a couple of wickets early on with the second new ball, currently six overs old, could put Karnataka right on top, particularly since not playing another frontline spinner has given them an extremely deep batting line-up.

None of the five wickets Maharashtra lost was the result of a particularly good ball or a particularly testing spell. Harshad Khadiwale, who had begun the day needing 20 runs to reach 1000 for the season, struck three sweetly timed fours before falling lbw to a full Vinay Kumar in-ducker. It was a good ball, but Khadiwale shouldn't have been stuck so deep in the crease.

Vijay Zol, India's Under-19 captain, looked completely out of sorts, and poked tentatively at everything in the channel. One such poke, off a short, rising delivery from Aravind, resulted in an edge to the keeper. This left Maharashtra 42 for 2.

It was a dicey situation for Kedar Jadhav to walk into, but the tournament's top run-getter settled Maharashtra's nerves with his clear-headed approach. He took their score to 50 by driving Aravind - bowling over the wicket - past mid-off for four, and whipping the next - from round the stumps - past mid-on.

Jadhav then hit Vinay for three successive fours: a square cut, a sweetly timed push between the bowler and mid-off, and a wristy on-drive between short midwicket and mid-on. He had moved to 37 when he was out caught behind down the leg side, off Abhimanyu Mithun. Maharashtra were 90 for 3, with three overs still to go for lunch.

It was here that Bawne walked in. His runs came at a leisurely pace at the start of his innings, with his first 23 balls containing only two scoring shots, but this didn't appear to bother him. Just like he did during his 89 against Bengal in the semifinals, he seemed to enjoy offering a limp cushion of a bat to good-length balls on a line close to off stump and ignoring those that were wider.

Bawne made only 17 out of a fourth-wicket stand of 54 with opener Chirag Khurana, but looked the more secure of the two throughout. Khurana had survived a chance even before Bawne had come in, Manish Pandey diving to his left from second slip to drop him on 14, and continued to look edgy, especially against the spinners, even as he neared 50.

The difference between Khurana and Bawne was starkest in their approach against spin. Where Bawne stretched out or stepped nimbly out of his crease to get to the pitch of anything remotely full, Khurana pushed at everything from the crease. It was a spinner who dismissed him, but Nair didn't have to do too much to earn his first first-class wicket beyond firing the ball full, too full for Khurana's attempted sweep.

Bawne took over the role of dominant partner in his 71-run stand with Rohit Motwani. He clipped Vinay neatly off his pads, and swept and pulled Nair for successive boundaries to move into the 30s. A drive to the left of cover, off Gopal, took him to 46 and one to his right, off occasional leggie Verma, to 50. At tea, Maharashtra were 195 for 4.

In the seventh over of the third session, the left-hand batsman Motwani played the first and last poor stroke of a dogged, 61-ball innings, wafting at Mithun outside off. It was to be Karnataka's last success of the day. Atitkar, who had made 168 in his previous innings, looked in tremendous touch, driving Mithun for successive fours early in his innings, and striking three more fours to end the day unbeaten on 29.

Karthik Krishnaswamy is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Dodjala on (January 30, 2014, 14:05 GMT)

Sathish has played pretty decent this year, his scores were: 63 in single inn vs. Jharkhand, 75 no & 51 no vs. Guj, 42 in single inn vs. Vidharbha, 0 & 34 vs. Odisha, 1 & 0 vs. Haryana, and then dropped for the next matches. It's unfair as he's proved in previous seasons so why it's been said this has been a disaster for Sathish?

Posted by   on (January 30, 2014, 12:37 GMT)

It is nice to Satish Ganesh again get back to the groove. He had two good seasons and was a disaster this year. A century in the finals shall again put him back as one of the pivots of Karnataka batting. I hope Gautam can again show last year's form.

Posted by   on (January 30, 2014, 11:15 GMT)

Karnataka 205/0 tells the story. Its game over for Maharashtra unless a miracle happens

Posted by   on (January 30, 2014, 8:16 GMT)

karnataka will take big lead may be 250 runs...its all over fr maha rashtra

Posted by   on (January 30, 2014, 6:50 GMT)

seems that Karnataka has gone with experience. so they have brought arvind abd satish for finals

Posted by   on (January 30, 2014, 6:45 GMT)

its very bad luck fr robin now days luck also gone fr robin he is once again elbow injuiree

Posted by pull_shot on (January 29, 2014, 19:33 GMT)

Well played Bawne may be best batsman in ranji below 23 after rahul from karnataka and jadhav looks good

Posted by TimeKiller on (January 29, 2014, 19:04 GMT)

Strange player choice by Karnataka. They have brought in Ganesh Satish and S Aravind for the final, even though they both were not considered to be in good form for most of the matches this season. Left out HS Sharath (still injured, really?), and Ronit More. Did not pick a regular specialist spinner (Appanna or Kazi), even though this pitch is known to assist spinners more than the seamers. They have clearly decided to go batting heavy (all, except Aravind can bat), but as a result they are one spinner short. Unavailability of of the all-rounder (Binny) seems to have upset the balance. Strange decisions, hope it doesn't cost them.

Posted by MadMaxKN on (January 29, 2014, 19:01 GMT)

Rank bad decision in case of Kedar Jadhav in such an important game otherwise it would have been Mah's day all the way. Bit surprising to see Motwani batting ahead of in form Atitkar.

Posted by Nampally on (January 29, 2014, 18:48 GMT)

Well Done Bawne, as predicted by Sir-Ivor, you are really following the footsteps of another Maharashtra born great, Chandu Borde, who played for Baroda & India. With Atitkar still at the crease, Maharashtra is poised for a big total on Day 2. Hopefully Bawne will complete his century & move on to a bigger score. I was disappointed with Zol getting out so cheaply. He appeared to be poking at the balls & finally did it once too often like Gambhir, & paid the penalty. Khadiwale & Jadhav were also expected to perform better. This has now put the pressure squarely on the shoulder of Atitkar to repeat his previous match's big innings of 168 & boost Maharashtra total. As for Karnataka, the Indian test bowlers Vinay Kumar & Mithun did not strike big- leaving others to do the job. Day 2 is crucial to both the teams. The first session will be critical. If the present pair survive, look for > 400 - otherwise<400. Uthapa, Gautam & Rahul are the key Karnataka bats. Will Fallah produce his magic?

Posted by TNAmarkFromIndia on (January 29, 2014, 17:45 GMT)

Maharashtra would be hoping that Bawne and Atitkar would build another big partnership on the second day exactly like they did against Bengal in the semifinal. Bawne is a quality player and has really come into his own during Maharashtra's crucial knockout matches. Would hope this time that Bawne would finally able to convert this 80-odd into a hundred or an even bigger one.

Posted by Al_Bundy1 on (January 29, 2014, 17:28 GMT)

I think Maharashtra have 2 really good batsmen in Kedar Jadhav and Ankit Bawne. Jadhav's aggressive style is more suitable for ODI and Bawne's defensive style is more suitable for Tests. They also have the best left arm seamer in the country in Samad Fallah. I think all 3 of them - Jadhav, Bawne and Fallah are ready and experienced enough to play for India. Samad Fallah can be brought in as under study to Zak.

Posted by parikshit_Ops on (January 29, 2014, 15:53 GMT)

I have been waiting to watch MH Ranaji match on TV for a long time. thanks Star Sports, I watched the play of almost the whole day. 3 Main contributions today, Khurana, Jadhav and Bawne. Khurana fought hard for his 64, he continued offering as good a defense as he could but then fell playing a loose shot to Nair. It was deserving 64,even considering the early morning let-off by pandey. Jadhav easily was the most aggressive of MH batsmen. he just changed the tempo of the game. MH batsmen looked to be in a good deal of difficulty before he came and started giving charge to spinner and also hitting some fours to pacers. It was a big loss for MH when he got out. Frankly when Bawne came out for bat, he looked pale in comparison to Jadhav to me. But I had understimated the grit, patience and hunger of runs which are as crucial elements of the game as talent and aggression. Starting cautiously he became more attacking as the game progressed and now is looking the most tough one to counter.

Posted by RajeshNaik on (January 29, 2014, 15:08 GMT)

Karnataka were lucky with Jadhav' wicket. He looked in nice touch. Bawne and Atitkar look solid. This is ominous sign for Karnataka. For Karnataka to stay in the match they have to get early wickets tomorrow and reduce Maharashtra to within 350.

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Tournament Results
Karnataka v Maharashtra at Hyderabad (Deccan) - Jan 29-Feb 2, 2014
Karnataka won by 7 wickets
Punjab v Karnataka at Mohali - Jan 18-22, 2014
Match drawn (Karnataka won on 1st innings)
Bengal v Maharashtra at Indore - Jan 18-20, 2014
Maharashtra won by 10 wickets
Bengal v Railways at Kolkata - Jan 8-12, 2014
Bengal won by 48 runs
Karnataka v U. Pradesh at Bangalore - Jan 8-11, 2014
Karnataka won by 92 runs
Mumbai v Maharashtra at Mumbai - Jan 8-11, 2014
Maharashtra won by 8 wickets
Punjab v J + K at Vadodara - Jan 8-11, 2014
Punjab won by 100 runs
More results »
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News | Features Last 3 days