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By Nishad Pai Vaidya
Hyderabad: Feb 1, 2014
Maharashtra have gone into lunch at 54 for one on Day Four of the Ranji Trophy 2013-14 final against Karnataka. Maharashtra managed to bowl Karnataka out for 515 and then commenced their innings in an attacking mode, although they lost an early wicket. That is perhaps the only way they can make a miraculous comeback in the game.
Karnataka resumed the day on 474 for seven and were eyeing the 500-run mark. Things started off well for Maharashtra when Anupam Sanklecha had Shreyas Gopal caught behind.
Abhimanyu Mithun and R Vinay Kumar flayed their bats around a little and took Karnataka past 500 and the 200-run lead mark. Maharashtra then bowled Karnataka out for 515 and started their pursuit of overhauling a 210-run lead.
There was a change in the opening combination for Maharashtra as Vijay Zol walked out to bat with Harshad Khadiwale. The intent was clear as they needed someone to attack Karnataka.
Khadiwale hit a boundary through third-man in the first over and then took a single to complete 1,000 runs in the season. He became the third man in this season to overhaul the mark, the other two being Kedar Jadhav and Lokesh Rahul.
The Maharashtra opener did look in good touch when he hit Abhimanyu Mithun through mid-wicket for a four. At the other end, Zol flirted with danger, trying to loft the bowlers over mid-off. On an odd occasion, the fielder was in play, but it was hit well enough to clear him.
Watching that attacking intent, Khadiwale may have got carried away and tried to pull a short one from Vinay Kumar. However, he did not get hold of it and managed to offer an easy catch to Ganesh Sathish at square-leg.
That did not deter Zol as he continued to hit those uppish drive, and quite successfully. On one occasion, he mistimed one over the off-side, but was safe as the field was in.
Ankit Bawne has joined Zol in the centre and has looked in good form, starting off with a classy punch through point. Long way to go for Maharashtra through! Karnataka are in a comfortable position.
Maharashtra 305 and 54 for 1 (Vijay Zol 31*; R Vinay Kumar 1 for 27) trail Karnataka 515 (Robin Uthappa 72, Lokesh Rahul 131, Ganesh Sathish 117; Samad Fallah 3 for 93, Shrikant Mundhe 3 for 90, Chirag Khurana 2 for 110) by 156 runs.
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