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Agarwal continues storming run as Karnataka enter final

Mayank Agarwal punches the ball down the ground ESPNcricinfo

Mayank Agarwal crossed 2000 runs across formats this season, scoring an 86-ball 81 in the presence of the national selectors in Delhi, during Karnataka's nine-wicket win against Maharashtra in the first semi-final of the Vijay Hazare Trophy. This was Agarwal's sixth 80-plus score in seven innings in the tournament. His opening partner and Karnataka captain Karun Nair made an unbeaten 70 and hit the winning runs after the pair had put together 155 in a 161 chase.

Maharashtra lost opener Ruturaj Gaikwad in the first over after electing to bat. A second-wicket stand of 57 between Shrikant Mundhe (50) and Rahul Tripathi (18) would be their most substantial one as first the seamers and then offspinner K Gowtham (3 for 26) ensured the wickets fell regularly. Following the run-out of Ankit Bawne, Naushad Shaikh (42) kept the innings afloat before being the last man dismissed. Fast bowler Prasidh Krishna finished with figures of 2 for 26.

Agarwal, on the back of a 140 against Hyderabad in the quarter-final, started the chase with a six and four off the first two balls. He got Karnataka off to a quick start and forced Maharashtra to bring on the left-arm spinner Satyajeet Bachhav (1 for 32) early to try and restrict the runs. Maharashtra failed to capitalise on the offered chances and the opening pair went about the chase with the run rate barely falling below five at any point.

In the final, Karnataka will face either Saurashtra or Andhra, who face off in the second semi-final at Palam on Saturday.