Karnataka v Maharashtra, Ranji Trophy, final, Hyderabad, 3rd day

Karnataka lose seven but stretch lead

The Report by Karthik Krishnaswamy in Hyderabad

January 31, 2014

Comments: 10 | Text size: A | A

Karnataka 474 for 7 (Rahul 131, Satish 117, Fallah 3-74) lead Maharashtra 305 by 169 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details


KL Rahul struck 131, Karnataka v Maharashtra, Ranji Trophy, Final, Hyderabad, 3rd day, January 31, 2014
KL Rahul struck 131 to extend Karnataka's lead © ESPNcricinfo Ltd
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Seven wickets for 244 in a full day's play, in batter-friendly conditions, is usually great going for a fielding side. Day three, by that count, belonged to Maharashtra. Until you remind them that Karnataka had begun at 230 for no loss in response to Maharashtra's 305, and until you remind them that they had missed opportunities on day two to make it 5 for 1, 28 for 1, 32 for 1, 172 for 1 and 179 for 1.

"We only have ourselves to blame," left-arm seamer Samad Fallah said, having kept Maharashtra in the game with three wickets on Friday. "But we still have to be positive. There are 180 overs left. We will look to get the last three wickets as soon as possible tomorrow morning, and continue playing positively. We did it against Mumbai."

Against Mumbai, in the quarterfinals, Maharashtra overturned a 122-run first-innings deficit and won by eight wickets. Against Karnataka, in the final, they have already given up a 169-run lead, and still have three wickets to get. They will first have to dislodge either Shreyas Gopal - whose defensive technique late in the day suggested that batting, rather than legspin, is his primary skill - or Vinay Kumar - who has already scored a century this season.

The pitch at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, moreover, has nothing like the pace or bounce that was on offer at the Wankhede during Maharashtra's quarterfinal. There, it was possible for batsmen to score quickly and for fast bowlers to run through a line-up. This pitch, though, is of the diametrically opposite kind, according to Robin Uthappa, who returned to the crease after the fall of Karnataka's first wicket to score a breezy 72.

"It's a wicket not just [difficult] to get runs on but also difficult to get wickets on," he said. "So it's that kind of a wicket, where you really need to work hard. We're the team who got 240 runs after 90 overs and we had to play big shots to get these runs. It didn't come easily."

It didn't. Certainly not for KL Rahul, who scored his third century of the season and became only the second Karnataka batsman to score 1000 runs in a Ranji Trophy season. Uthappa revealed that Rahul, who was sitting by his side at the end-of-day press conference, had been running a temperature when he began his innings on day two.

"I asked him if he was okay and he said his eyes were watering up when the bowler was running in but he dealt with those situations very well," Uthappa said. "It takes a lot of strength to do that when you're not feeling well."

Karnataka lost Ganesh Satish in the first over of Friday morning, bowled by a Chirag Khurana offbreak that kept a little low. Rahul was on 94 at that point. He reached his century four overs later, stretching out to sweep Khurana in front of square for four.

Soon after, he stepped down the track to launch left-arm spinner Akshay Darekar into the stands behind long-off. The next ball, inevitably, was short; Rahul rocked back and cut it fiercely for four. At the other end, Uthappa was equally severe on the spinners, smacking them for two sixes and a four down the ground. The last of these shots, off Darekar, came in the 80th over of Karnataka's innings.

Rahul and Uthappa had cashed in on the period before the second new ball became available. They, along with Satish, had also dented Darekar's confidence. Karnataka's top three hit him for 80 runs off 102 balls, on a pitch that offered the spinners turn, even if it was on the slow side. At the end of day three, Darekar, Maharashtra's lead spinner, had bowled 12.2 overs less than Khurana, the batting allrounder.

Maharashtra came close to striking as soon as they took the second new ball, with Uthappa edging Anupam Sanklecha between first and second slip. The ball flew close enough to Kedar Jadhav, at first, to count as another missed chance.

The second wicket, and Maharashtra's first safely completed catch, finally came in the 94th over, when Rahul slashed at Shrikant Mundhe and edged to keeper Rohit Motwani. Soon after lunch, substitute fielder Rahul Tripathi held another, catching Uthappa low at point, off a short and wide ball from Mundhe that should have gone for four.

Manish Pandey and Karun Nair added 35, before Fallah struck two quick blows. First, he swung one in to Pandey with the ball moving in the direction of the shine, to trap him in front. Then, he got one to hold up in the pitch and took a simple return catch from CM Gautam.

From that point on, the runs came at a drip. Karun Nair, who looked compact in defence and strong square of the wicket against spin, made a 118-ball 44 before he was given out caught behind off Khurana, attempting a reverse sweep. It was hard to tell from replays whether he had hit the ball or not, though.

Four overs of spin later, Fallah returned for his third spell of the day, over the wicket to the left-handed Amit Verma, who was on 29 from 100 balls. Fallah's second ball, reversing from outside off, hit his front pad just about in line with off stump.

With the day drawing to a close, Fallah changed his angle of attack to try and hustle out another wicket. He didn't quite succeed, even if he seemed to be a little affronted when he had an anguished shout for LBW against Vinay turned down. The third new ball will be available after two overs on Saturday morning. It could represent the last chance for Fallah and Maharashtra to keep Karnataka's lead to under 200.

Karthik Krishnaswamy is a senior sub-editor in ESPNcricinfo

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by   on (February 1, 2014, 12:22 GMT)

i think maharashtra giving target 120 maximum..that run will chace karnataka easily..over all karnataka diserve to win Ranji Trophy..maharastra Also played good cricket best of luck next sesan....selctore give tha chance to asia cup..jadav..robin..manish..vinay...Rahul is good fr test squad he is teqnicaly sound ...

Posted by JRP100 on (January 31, 2014, 20:04 GMT)

hopefully the bcci arrange some away A tours and kl rahul and jiwanjot singh get to open in them, they could get a national selection if the perform well given how badly dhawan and rohit sharma have done abroad.

Posted by MadMaxKN on (January 31, 2014, 18:50 GMT)

Maharashtra has dropped almost 7 chances and allowed the match to slip out of their hands. Day 2 was turning point of the game when Mah team looked timid and sluggish on the field. The slip fielders and keeper are standing at positions where it is almost impossible to catch the ball. There is no leadership to look upto on the field.

Posted by MadMaxKN on (January 31, 2014, 18:24 GMT)

Maharashtra has dropped almost 7 chances and allowed the match to slip out of their hands. Day 2 was turning point of the game when Mah team looked timid and sluggish on the field. The slip fielders and keeper are standing at positions where it is almost impossible to catch the ball. There is no leadership to on the field.

Posted by RajeshNaik on (January 31, 2014, 17:00 GMT)

@Johnson Sunil Dsouza: I fully agree with you.

Posted by wapuser on (January 31, 2014, 16:46 GMT)

Satish and Rahul has put strong foundation by scoring 200 partnership, and Robin took over the tempo. Add atleast another 50runs to the existing score. Good luck karnataka

Posted by   on (January 31, 2014, 15:47 GMT)

Either the pitch is difficult to score runs of according to Robin Uthappa or the conditions are batter-friendly according to a senior sub-editor in Cricinfo. Who are we to believe? Totally unfair and biased reporting for second consecutive day. Give credit where it is due man. Looks like the teams are playing on a neutral venue but the reporter is supporting only one team.

Posted by CricketMaan on (January 31, 2014, 15:40 GMT)

Congrats. Before there are 1000 calls for his inclusion in the test XI, please let him mature. Last season it was Jiwanjot Singh who scored heavily and fans wanted him in the XI, this season he has had a tough road. its the second and third season that determines good players. Let Rahul enjoy his cricket and score loads of runs. That is how Dravid, Lax et all made thier mark!

Posted by   on (January 31, 2014, 15:19 GMT)

250 lead comes fr karnataka .after maharshtra batting if they bat well 2nd inngs fastly they can give atleast 125 to 150 bt that score karnataka will chase if nt chase 2 setion then can play ..over all karnataka will win or first inngs lead no chance to maharashtra

Posted by RajeshNaik on (January 31, 2014, 15:13 GMT)

Maharashtra bowled well today. But, I thought Karnataka batsmen made it look difficult to score than it actually was. Nair and Verma concentrated more on spending time rather than scoring runs. As a result Karnataka have found themselves about 40 runs short of what would have been. But one has to appreciate the belief in the Maharashtra camp that they still think they can win the match. I think it is easy to say when you have nothing to lose. It is now Karnataka's game to lose.

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Karnataka won by 7 wickets
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