Karnataka had missed placing their hands on the Ranji Trophy four seasons ago when Mumbai handed them a six-run defeat at Mysore.
With eight players, who had played in the 2009-10 final, still in the squad, the narrow defeat was on the mind when they started their campaign this season.
It was passion that motivated Karnataka to go all out and halt Maharashtra’s fairytale journey here on Sunday. Karnataka won by seven wickets to prove their superiority in all departments.
The coin did not flip in Karnataka’s favour on Day One but their bowlers prevented Maharashtra from walking away with the advantage of batting first at Uppal.
Karnataka not only bowled out Maharashtra for 305 in the first innings, they also secured a 210-run lead to tighten their grip on the match.
Maharashtra’s Kedar Jadhav led a fightback on Day Four but a century by the season’s leading run-scorer couldn’t prevent the six-time Ranji champions from overhauling the target of 157 on the last day.
Earlier in the morning, Maharashtra’s tail wagged, which meant the lead that was 62 at stumps on Saturday, extended to 156. But it was never going to be enough, especially with the surface offering no significant turn and bounce and the Karnataka batting lineup filled with players like Robin Uthappa, KL Rahul and Manish Pandey.
In their pursuit of the modest target, Uthappa and Rahul gave a steady start. Uthappa led the attack by taking on the bowlers early in the innings. During his innings of 36, which had six fours, he played a square drive, smashed the ball between cover and extra cover and also hit an elegant straight drive.
Rahul (29, 3x4, 2x6), Karnataka’s leading run-scorer for the season and who was also adjudged player of the final, was slow off the blocks but broke free in 15th over when he hit two consecutive sixes and a four off Chirag Khurana.
Uthappa’s wicket in the next over off Akshay Khurana and then the dropped catch of batsman Amit Verma (38) gave some anxious moments to Karnataka but Pandey and Karun Nair ensured the team crossed the mark without further hiccups.