Karnataka captain Vinay Kumar started the Ranji Trophy knockouts with a bang. He opted to bowl in the quarter-final against Mumbai in Nagpur and ran through the batting line-up with a hat-trick that spanned across the first and third overs of the innings. A look at whom he dimissed and how, and the records he broke:
0.6: Prithvi Shaw has three hundreds this season but even with 30 hundreds this is a poor shot. He flayed at the first ball away from his body, and he does so again just after getting an inside edge onto his pad. This is short of a length, outside off, Shaw's feet are rooted, but he looks to punch this away through cover. The ball shapes away enough to take a thick edge for Karun Nair to swallow at first slip. Shaw's feet are in the air at the time of contact as he looks to reach this ball away from his body.
Prithvi Shaw c Karun Nair b Vinay Kumar 2
Fall of wicket: 6 for 1 (0.6 overs)
2.1: Jay Bista repeats the mistake Shaw made. This is an identical delivery to the one that got Shaw. Short of a length, just outside off, and he looks for a cover drive off the back foot. Just like Shaw, his feet don't move and are airborne when he makes the connection. This ball doesn't shape away as much as the last one, and the edge is finer, which is why there is confusion at slips. Nair waits for wicketkeeper CM Gautam to go for the catch to his right, but he doesn't. And then belatedly Nair sticks his left hand out, and the ball sticks. Vinay is on a hat-trick.
Jay Bista c Karun Nair b Vinay Kumar 1
Fall of wicket: 7 for 2 (2.1 overs)
2.2: Mumbai have sent in fast bowler Akash Parkar ahead of specialist batsmen. Are they looking to unsettle Karnataka bowling or are they protecting their batsmen, who should be out there and negotiating this period? Either way this plan is short-lived as Vinay bowls an unplayable delivery to complete his hat-trick. This is full, shaping up as an outswinger, pitches full and on off. Parkar plays for the outswinger, but the ball lands on the seam and changes its direction to seam in and hit him plumb in front. Tenth Ranji hat-trick for a Karnataka bowler. Mumbai in tatters.
Akash Parkar lbw b Vinay Kumar 0
Fall of wicket 7 for 3 (2.2 overs)
Vinay Kumar became only the sixth bowler to take a hat-trick in the knockouts in Ranji Trophy history and the first captain to do so. The last hat-trick in the knockout stages of the Ranji Trophy was seen way back in the 1993-94 pre-quarterfinal by Bengal's Sagarmoy Sensharma against Delhi.
A hat-trick against Mumbai's batting is a very rare occurrence. Vinay's hat-trick is only the third against Mumbai in over 500 Ranji matches and the first since Raghuram Bhat's in the 1981-82 semi-finals. Incidentally, all three hat-tricks against Mumbai have come in the knockouts. The first one by B Kalyanasundaram was in the final of 1972-73 season.
Vinay now has two Ranji hat-tricks. His first was against Maharashtra in 2007-08. He is only the fourth bowler to take multiple hat-tricks in Ranji history and second for Karnataka after Anil Kumble. Others to have more than one hat-trick are: Joginder Rao (three) for Services and Pritam Gandhe (two) for Vidarbha. Vinay's hat-trick is overall the tenth for Karnataka in Ranji, the most by any team. The next highest is six hat-tricks for Bengal and then five each for Delhi, Haryana and Tamil Nadu.
With his first wicket of the day, Vinay went past Erapalli Prasanna's 370 wickets to become Karnataka's third-highest wicket-taker in Ranji Trophy. Now only Sunil Joshi (479) and BS Chandrasekhar (437) are ahead of Vinay. He is already the leading wicket-taker among fast bowlers in Ranji Trophy history.