Karnataka win with bonus, Rlys implode
With one wicket in hand, when Karnataka ended the penultimate day of their Ranji Trophy contest against Railways with a 17-run lead on Wednesday, the stage was set for a draw and three points in the visitors’ kitty on the basis of their first-innings advantage.
But then, Railways remained consistent with their batting implosions to gift last season’s semi-finalists Karnataka a win, that too with a bonus point. The Karun Nair-led team is now at the fourth spot with 24 points from six matches. The 13th placed Railways have 13 from seven games.
Courtesy Srinivas Sharath’s 191-ball 62, Karnataka extended overnight lead to 29 runs as they were all out for 211. One would have thought the Railways to bat out the day and return with at least one point. What happened was a tame surrender on a deck that kept low at times but not to a demonising effect as they were dismissed for 79. Karnataka overhauled the 51-run target in 8.2 overs without losing any wicket to take home seven points.
Medium pacer Ronit More returned with a career-best haul of 6/32, including one over in which he scalped three wickets, to effect the slide but it had more to do with the approach of the batsmen. On an under-prepared pitch that was producing low bounce from the first day, Railways coach Yusuf Ali Khan reiterated time and again to go on the front-foot and play forward drives. The exact opposite happened in the second innings.
Needing 30 to force Karnataka to bat again, Railways lost four in 20 runs. The hosts’ batsmen were guilty of going too much on the backfoot as Karnataka fast bowlers Abhimanyu Mithun (3/17) and Prateek Jain (1/28) gave the initial jolts.