Karnataka enter the final day on Sunday as the firm favourites to lift the title © PTI
By Nishad Pai Vaidya
It was a day that saw Maharashtra fight back in the Ranji Trophy 2013-14 final at Hyderabad, but Karnataka hold the clear advantage. It was only during Day Two that Maharashtra let loose, otherwise it would have been a good contest. Now, Karnataka are a day away from lifting the trophy and Maharashtra may need something miraculous, something beyond the realms of imagination, to hit back.
Here are some of the moments on Day Four that stood out:
R Vinay Kumar asked to change his shoes
The Karnataka skipper walked out to bat with on Day Four with a pair of shoes with sharp spikes. And, as he was trying to be proactive at the crease, he was standing miles out and trying to take the ball on the full. Thus, when the umpires noticed the spikes, they immediately asked him to change his pair of shoes. Of course, that would have created a rough right in the centre of the wicket and the umpires had to ask him to comply. That did not change his approach though as he kept attacking the bowling.
Harshad Khadiwale gets 1,000 runs
During the group stages, Harshad Khadiwale was a force to reckon with and amassed runs with ease. However, he was a bit off in the league stages and failed to stamp his authority at the top. There was a good moment for him though. Needing five to get to 1,000 runs this season, he got it quite easily early on and looked in good touch when he smashed a boundary through mid-wicket. But then, he tried to pull a short ball and was caught at square-leg.
Vijay Zol attacks
There was a a lot of talk over Vijay Zol, the India under-19 captain’s appearance for this game as his teammates trained for the World Cup. He didn’t perform to match the expectations, but he did showed glimpses of his talent. The audacity in his strokeplay was evident as he kept lofting the Karnataka pacers over mid-off. He may have had his heart in his mouth a few times, but the ball sailed over the fielders. It was the fearlessness of youth on show, but that was nipped in the bud when he edged the first ball after lunch.
Kedar Jadhav turns it on
Kedar Jadhav has been in fantastic form throughout the season and continued to show why he is one of the best batsmen in the domestic circuit. He attacked everything in sight and sped away to his ton, taking Maharashtra past Karnataka’s advantage. He used his feet, swept, reverse swept and also reached out to the wide deliveries. Maharashtra after all, had nothing to lose and he went for it with all strength.
Vinay Kumar gets wickets off full-tosses
Late in the day, when Chirag Khurana and Jadhav were building a fine stand, Vinay Kumar bowled with a shortened run-up and had reduced his pace. He first got Khurana as he bowled a full-toss, almost waist high, to Khurana and the batsman tried to waft across the line. Instead, the ball merely went to cover, where Robin Uthappa took the catch. Later, the centurion Jadhav smashed a full toss outside off-stump straight to the fielder at cover. In the process, Vinay Kumar also completed his 300 First-Class wickets.
Karnataka cheer their team up
When Ankit Bawne and Jadhav were building a fighting partnership in the afternoon session, Karnataka spread out the field and weren’t looking on the mark. Their supporters close to the dressing room kept cheering though. But, the greatest form of encouragement came from the support staff and the reserves when they, seated near the boundary, clapped in unison to lift their team’s spirits. It was an ultimate show of support, something that Karnataka desperately needed.
(Nishad Pai Vaidya is a Correspondent with CricketCountry and anchor for the site’s YouTube Channel. His Twitter handle is @nishad_44)