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Pacers mow down Mumbai

The famed Mumbai fightback threatened but never materialised at the Gangothri Glades cricket ground here as Karnataka took the honours on Day I of the Ranji Trophy final, reports Nikhilesh Bhattacharya.

cricket Updated: Jan 12, 2010 00:24 IST
Nikhilesh Bhattacharya
Nikhilesh Bhattacharya
Hindustan Times
Mumbai fightback

The famed Mumbai fightback threatened but never materialised at the Gangothri Glades cricket ground here as Karnataka took the honours on Day I of the Ranji Trophy final.

At stumps, the hosts were 17 for one after bundling out Mumbai for 233. Only wicketkeeper Vinayak Samant showed the stomach to fight, top-scoring with 67 (157 balls, 8 fours).

Having elected to bat, Mumbai will be disappointed to have folded for so few against an attack that had only one bowler who looked dangerous throughout and another who showed flashes of brilliance.

R. Vinay Kumar and Abhimanyu Mithun finished with four and three wickets respectively, but the rest of the Karnataka attack is not the kind that should give first-class sides sleepless nights.

The reason why Mumbai could not take full toll on Stuart Binny, used as a fourth pacer, and Sunil Joshi, who found little spin in the first-day wicket, was Vinay Kumar. His first spell set the tone as he moved the new ball both ways to nip out Mumbai's top three.

Sahil Kukreja, Wasim Jaffer and Ajinkya Rahane have scored lots of runs this season but here their combined contribution was 17 off 26 balls. The quick wickets left Mumbai's middle-order exposed.

One of the other factors that kept Mumbai in check was Abhimanyu Mithun, when he was bowling full that is. The speed gun set up by the telecasters showed him to be a shade slower than Vinay Kumar, but when he pitched it up, batsmen found him difficult to tackle.

Mithun bowled both Omkar Khanvilkar and Abhishek Nayar in quick succession with full-length deliveries and that too just when they were putting together a partnership. He later got Ramesh Powar, who was beginning to irritate the Karnataka team.

Karnataka fielders took some brilliant catches. Early on, Ganesh Satish at short-leg juggled with the ball but held on to send back Jaffer and the trend continued. K.B. Pawan and Manish Pandey at gully and Amit Verma at first slip held on to sharp chances as Karnataka punished Mumbai for every indiscretion.

For the hosts, it was almost the perfect day. They wanted first use of the lively wicket and got it despite Uthappa losing the toss. They looked to their medium-pacers for wickets and Vinay Kumar and Mithun obliged. They would have loved to have not lost Uthappa late in the day.

Samant’s long vigil showed there were not too many demons in the pitch. While the top five got good balls, the lower order contributed to their dismissals: Ajit Agarkar wandered out of his crease to get run out and Powar and Iqbal Abdulla flashed at short deliveries.