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By Nishad Pai Vaidya
Bangalore: Feb 12, 2014
It was a performance that showed why Karnataka are the Ranji Trophy champions as they trounced Rest of India (ROI) by an innings and 222 runs in the Irani Cup encounter at M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bangalore. It was a complete team performance by the Ranji champions as they gave ROI no chance and dominated throughout the game. Skipper R Vinay Kumar led the way with some beautiful bowling and his batsmen backed him up with a splendid show.
On Day One, the wicket looked green, the grass on the pitch was a shade lighter than the rest of the square. Thus, winning the toss and bowling was a no-brainer and Vinay Kumar made full use of the conditions. He snared three wickets in no time and had the top order reeling under pressure. Even Stuart Binny joined the party as he swing the ball and had two wickets. Thus, in the morning session, ROI had lost half their side.
Dinesh Karthik was one batsman who soldiered on. He batted with great maturity and mixed his approach well during his innings of 91. Amit Mishra also fought hard with 47, but ultimately, Vinay returned to finish the innings for 201.
Karnataka lost Robin Uthappa for no score, but Ganesh Satish carried on from where he left off in the Ranji final. Lacing the off-side with boundaries, he made batting look easy and helped Karnataka build. Things were going well and once Binny came to the crease, he made the task tougher for ROI.
Playing with attacking intent, Binny smashed the bowlers all-round. He was crafty to the spinners and punished anything with width from the seamers. He also showed a penchant to pull during his innings, even sending one into the stands at fine-leg. He raced to his ton off 84 balls and put Karnataka in command. At the other end, Karun Nair went about his job quietly and scripted a classy 92.
Even though Binny was dismissed early on Day Three, CM Gautam was on song and started smashing it around. In the morning session, he scored 97 runs and raced to his ton with an array of inventive strokes. The reverse sweep in particular was a regular feature as he picked the gaps to perfection. Wickets did fall at the other end, but Gautam only piled the misery for ROI and later Abhimanyu Mithun also wielded his willow as Karnataka finished on 606, taking a 405-run lead.
There was no chance for ROI when they commence their second innings. The openers also fell early and that only added the pressure. Kedar Jadhav and Baba Aparajith did fight a bit, but on the fourth morning, ROI lost their last seven wickets for 92 runs.
All in all, one must appreciate Karnataka’s all-round show. At no point did they look in trouble or under the pump. They were in total control and even though there were fighting performances from Karthik and Pankaj Singh (with his six-for), it wasn’t enough for ROI to stage a recovery. It was a performance that would have disappointed them.
Rest of India 201 and 183 (Baba Aparajith 66, Kedar Jadhav 44; R Vinay Kumar 4 for 70, Shreyas Gopal 5 for 35) lost to Karnataka 606 (Karun Nair 92, Stuart Binny 122, CM Gautam 122; Pankaj Singh 6 for 122) by an innings and 222 runs.
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