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The Hindu
The Hindu
Ashwin Achal

Ranji Trophy | Kaverappa and Vyshak’s spells give Karnataka a glimmer of hope

From being down and out, Karnataka clawed back into contention against Vidarbha in their Ranji Trophy quarterfinal here on Monday.

An inspired performance from fast bowlers Vidwath Kaverappa (six for 61) and V. Vyshak (four for 81) lifted Karnataka from gloom to hope. The pacers bowled with heart and fire to dismiss Vidarbha for 196 in the second essay, leaving Karnataka with a 371-run target.

Openers Mayank Agarwal (61 batting, 77b, 9x4, 1x6) and R. Samarth (40, 69b, 5x4) showed positive intent in a 101-run stand. On the final day, the visitor needs another 268 runs, with nine wickets in hand.

This is no walk in the park, but having started the day 234 runs in arrears, Karnataka has momentum in its favour.

Mayank’s men entered the penultimate day determined to make it tough for Vidarbha. Vyshak, Kaverappa and V. Koushik kept a better length than seen in the first essay, and the fielders had a spring in their step. There was the odd verbal joust with batters, who fell deeper and deeper into a shell.

Mild tremors were felt in the Vidarbha camp when Vyshak prised out top-order batters Dhruv Shorey (57) and Yash Rathod (7) in successive overs. When mainstay Karun Nair offered wicketkeeper Sharath Srinivas a catch to leave Vidarbha at 169 for six, the floodgates opened.

The consistent Kaverappa rose to the occasion, scalping 10 wickets for the match. “To stay in the game, we had to get them all out before Tea,” Kaverappa said.

The 25-year-old conceded that the bowling unit was not at its best in the first innings, putting it down to a “one-off day”.

Karnataka’s ‘do or die’ approach carried forward with the bat. This was exemplified by a first-ball boundary from the normally cautious Samarth.

Vidarbha paid a heavy price for being much too defensive. The sole goal with the bat was to block, which allowed Karnataka to keep the pressure on.

When bowling, skipper Akshay Wadkar spread his field and offered Mayank and Samarth singles and twos. Vidarbha was content to sit back and wait for things to happen – a passive approach which backfired.

The scores:

Vidarbha – 1st innings: 460.

Karnataka – 1st innings: 286.

Vidarbha – 2nd innings: Atharva Taide c Jose b Kaverappa 25, Dhruv Shorey b Vyshak 57, Yash Rathod lbw Vyshak 7, Karun Nair c Sharath b Vyshak 34, Mohit Kale c Sharath b Kaverappa 3, Akshay Wadkar b Kaverappa 5, Aditya Sarvate c Sharath b Kaverappa 29, Harsh Dubey c Sharath b Kaverappa 9, Yash Thakur (not out) 8, Umesh Yadav b Vyshak 10, Aditya Thakare c Sharath b Kaverappa 0; Extras (b-2, lb-3, w-1, nb-3): 9; Total (in 57.2 overs): 196.

Fall of wickets: 1-68, 2-93, 3-94, 4-105, 5-120, 6-169, 7-169, 8-184, 9-195.

Karnataka bowling: Kaverappa 23.2-4-61-6, Koushik 13-1-45-0, Vyshak 17-1-81-4, Hardik 4-1-4-0.

Karnataka – 2nd innings: R. Samarth b Sarvate 40, Mayank Agarwal (batting) 61, K.V. Aneesh (batting) 1; Extras (lb-1): 1; Total (for one wkt, in 26 overs): 103.

Fall of wicket: 1-101.

Vidarbha bowling: Umesh 5-0-26-0, Thakare 7-1-15-0, Thakur 4-0-14-0, Dubey 6-0-37-0, Sarvate 4-1-10-1.

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