Karnataka v Maharashtra, Ranji final, Hyderabad, 4th day February 1, 2014

Vinay defends defensive tactics

The Report by Karthik Krishnaswamy in Hyderabad

At times during the second session on the fourth day, it seemed as if Maharashtra, and not Karnataka, were the team with the 210-run first-innings lead. Someone would bowl - it didn't matter who it was, specialist or part-timer - and the batsman - it didn't matter if it was Kedar Jadhav or Ankit Bawne - would stroll down the pitch and work the ball either side of the pitch for a walked single to a deep fielder. There were, at times, as many as seven deep fielders to choose from.

"Hopefully you might have watched the game," said Vinay Kumar, Karnataka's captain, when asked about his team's tactics. "It's a four-day game. The last four days it was very difficult for batsmen to get runs. That's why, wherever they could get boundaries, we put the fielders back so that they could get as less runs as possible."

Karnataka didn't quite succeed in restricting Maharashtra, who scored 272 runs in 68 overs, at exactly four runs an over. On the third day, Karnataka scored 244 in 90 overs.

"What are you trying to say?" Vinay said, when these numbers were put in front of him. "I know what you said but you want to say we play badly or they played well? They didn't have anything to lose. They just went and, if we had been in their position we would have thrown our bat from ball one, right? That's what they did and we're very happy that we got six wickets."

Maharashtra didn't exactly throw their bats at the ball. Vijay Zol did, initially, and only when the ball was in the slot, when Karnataka's seamers started with conventional fields. But each time a Maharashtra batsman played an aggressive shot, a fielder left the slip cordon, and often dropped back to the boundary. Pretty soon, especially when Jadhav and Bawne were together at the crease, singles were there for the taking, and Maharashtra's batsmen kept taking them.

Even so, Maharashtra were too far behind in the match to really turn things around. And they gave away four wickets in the post-tea session, two of them to full-tosses. Those two full-tosses gave Vinay his 299th and 300th first-class wickets. By the end of the day, with Maharashtra six down and only 62 ahead, it looked like Karnataka's tactics had worked.

"We want to give as less runs as possible," Vinay said, when asked how his team would approach the final day. "Because tomorrow morning they need to face more overs to get those 150 or 200 runs. If we bowl 15-20 overs tomorrow morning and restrict their lead to 200 runs then they'll get less overs and they'll try really hard to get us. In this wicket if you try too much it's very easy for batsman to get runs. That was the thought behind that."

Karthik Krishnaswamy is a senior sub-editor in ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Android on February 2, 2014, 11:28 GMT

    Karnataka won Karnataka players can also select for Indian team squad but they cannot select to the team because of Dhoni politics

  • Android on February 2, 2014, 11:23 GMT

    congrats to karnataka

  • Ajay on February 2, 2014, 11:23 GMT

    Whatever 'defensive tactic' mentioned by Vinay is part of the game. All the winning teams does these kind of tactics. Ultimately winning matters. Kudos to entire Karnataka team and support staff!!

  • Pramod on February 2, 2014, 11:17 GMT

    Ranji Trophy is the cradle of Indian cricket and after watching the Mah Karnataka final I offer these comments on how Indian cricket be run to imbibe fighting spirit and a sense of fair play: No trophy be won on first innings lead. ICC rules for conduct, overs, fair play must be implemented. Penalties must be levied for time wasting, unfair play and less overs by the bowling side. Injuries must be treated off the ground if this means delay and the umpires must rule a batsman retd hurt, a fielder to be replaced and not brook any time wasting. Abusive language must be penalised. To do well abroad wickets need to be quick, this will encourage fast bowlers. Entry to Ranji Trophy must be free; right now even finals are being played in almost empty stadiums. We have the talent but cricket and other sports too lack the innate culture- develope it !!

  • Android on February 2, 2014, 10:58 GMT

    Comon boys now irani tropy is there in bangalore ..beat india a and go national team Robin. Rahul manish ..play good cricket

  • Android on February 2, 2014, 10:35 GMT

    Vinaykumar did exceptionally well. Let all of us congratulate him wholeheartedly......we all kannadigas are proud of you Vinay and our Karnataka TEAM

  • shankar on February 2, 2014, 10:34 GMT

    Congratulations Karnataka, Well done boys, now go for another glory...Irani trophy, starting from 9th feb in our own Bengaluru...crowds will be rooting for newly crowned Ranji Champions. Hope Sharath will be fully fit for that match...He will be showcasing his fast bowling talent to the selectors present for that match.

  • Rajesh on February 2, 2014, 9:03 GMT

    Truth is Karnataka were defensive. Vinay may defend those tactics as he has to as the captain of the side. But all is forgotten if Karnataka win the Ranji Trophy. Or else, one can say that those defensive mindset and tactics have cost them the cup.

  • Dummy4 on February 2, 2014, 7:13 GMT

    well batted Karnataka like ranaji champions.do not pay much attention to the negative tactics criticism.viay has led the team in efficient manner and now they are very near to achieve the trophy.witjhin hours they will be ranaji trophy champions for 2013-14 season.congratulations to them in advance.

  • Dummy4 on February 2, 2014, 5:31 GMT

    It was defensive, no doubt. The pitch was very flat and Karnataka doesn't have a spinner. Defensive was OK, but Karnataka went a bit TOO much defensive.

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