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Karnataka eyeing 250-run lead against Maharashtra, says Robin Uthappa

 

Lokesh Rahul's brilliant century put Karnataka on the driving seat on Day three © PTI
Lokesh Rahul’s brilliant century put Karnataka on the driving seat on Day three © PTI

 

Hyderabad: Jan 31, 2014

 

Maintaining that his side has batting depth till down the order, senior Karnataka batsman Robin Uthappa said that they would be eyeing for a 250-run first innings lead over Maharashtra in the Ranji Trophy final match.

 

“Personally, I think we are in a strong position because the wicket is getting slower and slower. If we can get about 200 to 250 runs, that will put us in a commanding situation in the match,” he told reporters after the end of the third day’s play.

 

At stumps, Karnataka were 474 for seven in reply to Maharashtra’s first innings 305, already taking a lead of 169 runs.

 

“I think the initial goal is to get that 30 runs to make it 200 (runs lead) and take it forward from there,” he said, adding his team members right down to the bottom can contribute with the bat.

 

“I still think we have batting (in this innings) right down till (Sreenath) Aravind. Aravind can also get runs for us. He has done it in the past. Everyone in the team wants to contribute. I’m sure we are going to put a few runs tomorrow as well.”

 

Uthappa said the wicket was neither easy to bat on nor helping bowlers.

 

“It’s not necessarily hard. The ball is turning but it has slowed down more. It’s not vicious. It’s dry. But there is turn but the turn is very slow.

 

“Since the ball is coming off the wicket slowly, it’s a wicket not only difficult to get runs on but also difficult to get the wickets on,” he said.

 

Karnataka’s Lokesh Rahul, who hit 131 to score 1000 runs this season, expressed happiness over his personal milestone and hoped that his side would win.

 

“I started off the season thinking I should get lot of runs. I am happy that I got 1000 runs. Just hoping that we can also win the Ranji Trophy championship,” he said.

 

“I was not looking at scoring 1000 runs, how far I would go, how many runs I would get. I was focused on taking one game at a time. Robin also stresses on keeping things simple.

 

It also helped me individually,” he said.

 

Uthappa praised Rahul for his “work ethic, professionalism and discipline”.

 

Meanwhile, Maharashtra captain Rohit Motwani said his side have not lost hope and would look to bounce back.

 

“This is a five-day game. We cannot lose hope at any point of time even if you are 100 to 150 runs ahead ….still you never know in this game. If a team bounces back, you can pull out a win from this,” he said.

 

“And we have not done it in the past against Mumbai; we were 120 down, we pulled it out and won the game. So, in the five-day game, you are not exactly sure. You have to fight it out each and every day, each and every session because any moment you just get a slip and you just make inroads and win the game.

 

“Still there are 180 overs left but we have not lost any kind of hope,” Motwani said, adding that his team performed better on Day three than on Day two, where they dropped a few catches.

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