Vijay Hazare Trophy: Karnataka stave off Saurashtra in final to lift third title | cricket | Hindustan Times
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Vijay Hazare Trophy: Karnataka stave off Saurashtra in final to lift third title

Cheteshwar Pujara’s efforts went in vain as Karnataka staved off Saurashtra in the final of the Vijay Hazare Trophy to lift their third title.

cricket Updated: Feb 28, 2018 20:32 IST
Sidharth Gulati
Sidharth Gulati
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Vijay Hazare Trophy final,Karnataka vs Saurashtra,KL Rahul
Karnataka defeated Saurashtra by 41 runs to win the Vijay Hazare Trophy at the Ferozshah Kotla Stadium in New Delhi on Tuesday.(Photo: Hotstar screengrab)

Karnataka rode on Mayank Agarwal’s magnificent knock and spinner K Gowtham’s three-wicket haul to defeat Saurashtra by 41 runs to win the 2018 Vijay Hazare Trophy at the Ferozeshah Kotla ground on Tuesday. (Vijay Hazare Trophy final HIGHLIGHTS)

Agarwal, 27, has been in sensational form for Karnataka this season and came into the final after scoring three centuries and three half-centuries in seven innings in the tournament. And the opener stepped up with the bat again as Karnataka won their third Vijay Hazare Trophy in five seasons.

He struck a 79-ball 90 (11x4, 3x6), but just when it appeared he would go on to pile on the runs, but he holed out to the deep, triggering a batting collapse that left Saurashtra needing 254 to win.

Saurashtra skipper and India No 3, Cheteshwar Pujara began slowly and eventually scored 94, but failed to take his side to victory after being run out.

Pujara, Jadeja too slow

Chasing 254, Saurashtra got off to a poor start as they lost two wickets inside the first three overs.

Fast-bowler Prasidh Krishna removed opener Samarth Vyas and then got the better of Dharmendrasinh Jadeja, who tried to defend a short delivery but played on to the stumps, off the inside edge.

Batting at No 4, Cheteshwar Pujara scored just seven off 34 balls before hitting his first boundary.

Pujara put on 62 runs with Avi Barot for the third wicket. Although the Saurashtra skipper picked up his scoring, he could not rotate the strike and Barot, anxious to up the scoring rate, holed out off Stuart Binny in the 18th over, reducing his team to 77/3.

It was the turn of Ravindra Jadeja -- he didn’t bowl due to a side strain -- to give Saurashtra the momentum they desperately needed, but he fell for 15 off 38 balls.

Pujara and Jadeja were kept under check by Binny and spinners K Gowtham and Pavan Deshpande, managing to score only 24 off 60 balls for the fourth wicket.

Saurashtra then lost four wickets for 34 runs before Pujara launched a counter-attack with Kamlesh Makvana. But it was too late and they were consumed by the ever-rising run rate.

Agarwal spearheads

Agarwal continued to pile on the runs while other Karnataka batsmen capitulated in the face of tidy bowling by Saurashtra on what appeared a good wicket.

His sensational sequence in the tournament reads 109, 84, 28, 102, 89, 140, 81 and 90.

After being asked to bat, Karnataka lost skipper Karun Nair for duck in the second over. Shaurya Sanandia got some inward movement and Nair was beaten and bowled off-stump.

In the very next over, KL Rahul -- who returned from South Africa a day ago and rushed to join the team -- was run out after facing just three balls. Karnataka had a lucky escape after R Samarth was dropped by Prerak Mankad at gully in the sixth over.

Agarwal combined with R Samarth to steady Karnataka’s innings, take their total to 141. The duo put on a 136-run stand before Agarwal fell to left-arm spinner Dharmendrasinh Jadeja in the 25th over. The opener tried to hit a flighted delivery over long-off but didn’t get enough power and Jaydev Unadkat took a head high catch on the boundary.

Mankad then bowled Samarth (48) and had Stuart Binny (5) caught behind by Avi Barot in quick succession to leave Karnataka in trouble.

Deshpande and Shreyas Gopal tried to stabilise the Karnataka innings but a direct hit from Arpit Vasavada sent Gopal packing.

Kamlesh Makvana, the Saurashtra off-spinner, sparked Karnataka’s collapse, finishing with a career-best (in List A matches) 4/34.

However, Saurashtra batsmen could not cash in on the fine effort by their bowlers in the end.

First Published: Feb 27, 2018 09:14 IST