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The Hindu
The Hindu
Ashwin Achal

Karan Sharma guides Uttar Pradesh to the Ranji semifinals

A brilliant unbeaten 93 (163b, 13x4, 1x6) from captain Karan Sharma took Uttar Pradesh past Karnataka by five wickets in their Ranji Trophy quarterfinal encounter at Alur grounds here on Wednesday.

Karan, playing just his fourth First-Class match, showed nerves of steel to shut Karnataka out of the tournament. Karnataka added only 14 runs to its overnight tally to set a tricky target of 213, but the 24-year-old Karan made light of the task.

Unbroken stand

Karnataka had its chances on the third day, when the visitor was reduced to 28 for two and 114 for five. An unbroken 99-run sixth-wicket partnership between Karan and Prince Yadav (33 n.o.), however, crushed all hopes of a home win.

One-drop Priyam Garg (52, 60b, 6x4, 2x6) put Uttar Pradesh on the right track with an aggressive knock. Garg’s hook off pacer Vidhwath Kaverappa, which sailed well over deep square-leg, showed that Uttar Pradesh was unwilling to take a backward step.

The start of the Uttar Pradesh essay did not inspire confidence. Openers Samarth Singh and Aryan Juyal threw away their wickets, playing away from the body to offer catches behind the wicket.

Batting mainstay Rinku Singh (4) fell to a shocking error in judgment. The southpaw shouldered arms to a straight delivery from Kaverappa, only for the ball to crash into his off-stump.

Dhruv Jorel’s (9) glance off the hip was pouched by substitute wicketkeeper B.R. Sharath. The substitute was required after regular gloveman Sharath Srinivas left the field with a finger injury.

Karan found an able ally in Prince. Despite facing pressure from the Karnataka players — never shy to appeal, and chirp loudly — Prince stood firm.

Karan and Prince came alive in the final session, tonking the Karnataka attack to all parts to finish in style.

This is Karan’s second successive match-winning effort in the final innings, having made 116 against Maharashtra to help Uttar Pradesh reach a stiff 357-run target.

Karan, who played one match in IPL 2022, stated that he picked up valuable tips from his Lucknow Super Giants teammates K.L. Rahul and Marcus Stoinis.

On his stellar knock, Karan said, “There was movement on this pitch, so the plan was to play as late and close to the body as possible. This win shows the character of our team.”

The scoreboard: Karnataka — 1st innings: 253.

Uttar Pradesh — 1st innings: 155.

Karnataka — 2nd innings: R. Samarth b Prince 11, Mayank Agarwal c Jurel b Saurabh 22, Karun Nair c Rinku b Rajpoot 10, K.V. Siddharth b Rajpoot 15, Manish Pandey run out 4, Shreyas Gopal c Juyal b Saurabh 3, S. Sharath (not out) 23, K. Gowtham c Jurel b Mavi 1, V. Vyshak lbw b Saurabh 5, Ronit More c Jurel b Dayal 0, Vidhwath Kaverappa c Samarth Singh b Dayal 0; Extras (b-8, lb-9, nb-3): 20; Total (in 39 overs): 114.

Fall of wickets: 1-33, 2-35, 3-67, 4-71, 5-77, 6-84, 7-95, 8-100, 9-105.

U.P. bowling: Dayal 9-0-35-2, Rajpoot 8-2-15-2, Prince 4-2-6-1, Saurabh 16-4-36-3, Mavi 2-0-5-1

Uttar Pradesh — 2nd innings: Samarth Singh c Siddharth b Vyshak 14, Aryan Juyal c sub (B.R. Sharath) b Vyshak 1, Priyam Garg c Gopal b Gowtham 52, Karan Sharma (not out) 93, Rinku Singh b Kaverappa 4, Dhruv Jurel c sub (B.R. Sharath) b Vyshak 9, Prince Yadav (not out) 33, Extras (b-6, nb-1): 7; Total (for five wkts. in 65.2 overs): 213.

Fall of wickets: 1-15, 2-28, 3-87, 4-96, 5-114.

Karnataka bowling: Vyshak 17-5-47-3, More 10-2-27-0, Kaverappa 13.2-3-46-1, Gopal 8-0-38-0, Gowtham 17-3-49-1.

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