Karnataka 359 for 7 (Agarwal 125, Uthappa 87, Nair 86, Baltej 3-59) beat Punjab 203 (Mandeep 76, Mithun 3-37) by 156 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Karnataka's in-form batsmen racked up the state's highest score in List A history to set up a massive win over Punjab in Ahmedabad. It was only the second time that the defending champions of the Vijay Hazare Trophy had retained the title. Karnataka lost just one game across the two triumphant campaigns.
Punjab won the toss and chose to field, but by the 10th over they were ruing that decision as Karnataka's openers Mayank Agarwal and Robin Uthappa raced away to 64 for 0. Punjab captain Harbhajan Singh later said that he was unhappy with the width provided early on by his bowlers to allow Karnataka a strong beginning.
Uthappa had made solid starts without making a half-century in the previous two games, but this time he pushed on till 87 before the extra bounce caused him to sky a catch towards midwicket. By then the openers had added 162 and the innings hadn't even reached the halfway stage.
Agarwal had a quiet two games before this one, but made up for it with his second century of the tournament. After Uthappa's exit, Agarwal was supported by Karun Nair as he looked good for a big century. He was on 125 by the 37th over when he perished to a full toss that he could only hit to square leg. There was a floodlight failure soon after, with play held up for more than 20 minutes but even that didn't stop Karnataka's momentum.
Manish Pandey has been the standout batsman of the tournament, but by the time he walked out in the final, Karnataka were already on a dominant 247 for 2. With Nair also opening out, the pair added 87 in less than 10 overs. Like Uthappa, Nair also missed out on a century, falling in the 49th over for 86. Yuvraj Singh had dropped him on 34.
Punjab were left to chase a massive 360, and briefly they looked like they would made a strong pursuit. Amitoze Singh and Mandeep Singh, both of whom are among the top five run-getters in the tournament, put on 82 for the second wicket. A mix-up led to Amitoze's run-out in the 15th over, and that sapped the energy out of the chase. They fell further behind as Yuvraj slapped S Aravind straight to deep midwicket on 23.
Three wickets, including that of Mandeep, in little more than four overs more or less ended the contest. The end came in the 39th over when Abhimanyu Mithun had Sandeep Sharma skying a catch to the keeper, giving him the scalp that put him on top of the tournament's wicket-charts. Sandeep is second on the list with 17.
After a dream season in 2013-14 that included three titles, Karnataka have begun this one with another convincing title victory.