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Karnataka in final after eleven years

Karnataka skipper Rahul Dravid will be in Bangladesh next week with Team India for the Test series, but on Wednesday he ensured good match practice for his team before the Ranji Trophy final against Mumbai.

cricket Updated: Jan 07, 2010 01:09 IST
Sharad Deep

Karnataka skipper Rahul Dravid will be in Bangladesh next week with Team India for the Test series, but on Wednesday he ensured good match practice for his team before the Ranji Trophy final against Mumbai.

As soon as middle-order batsman C.M. Gautam completed his second century of the season, slashing a four through the slips off Bhuvaneshwar Kumar, Dravid declared Karnataka’s second innings closed at 247 for eight, stretching their overall lead against Uttar Pradesh to 614. Thereafter, it was a formality for the sides and the two captains agreed to an early end after the first mandatory over. With the match ending in a draw, Karnataka reached the final on the basis of their first-innings lead.

It was nostalgia of sorts for the six-time champions, who made it to the final after 11 years. Last time they won the title was in 1998-99, against the same side, at the same M. Chinnaswamy Stadium.

Resuming at the overnight score of 43 for three, Karnataka batsmen appeared confident. A sense of triumph was evident, as the team posed for a group photo. Uttar Pradesh players were going through the motions, as some of them appeared reluctant to stop boundaries, allowing Karnataka batsmen to dominate proceedings. R.P. Singh and part-timer Tanmay Srivastava struck once before lunch but that had no impact on Gautam, who drove, pulled and cut almost every bowler during his 206-minute stay in the middle. His 100 came in 169 balls with 15 fours.

Gautam and R. Vinay Kumar put together 112 runs for the sixth wicket. Vinay’s 70-ball 38 was studded with three fours and three mighty sixes.

Skipper Dravid praises youngsters

Karnataka skipper Rahul Dravid showered praise on his young players after making it to the Ranji Trophy final.

“It’s great that the youngsters showed their might to push the side on the brink of title triumph. I am very happy with the way they performed this season in all departments,” Dravid said after the match.

“It’s a terrific feeling for me. I played my maiden Ranji Trophy match under the leadership of Syed Kirmani and since then, winning it remained a big dream for me too,” said Dravid, who scored his sixth Ranji Trophy double hundred in this match.

“It’s true that we had some tough years in the past, but this time the youngsters really did a great job, and I hope they would continue to perform like this in next few years too.”