Ranji Trophy 2018-19: Manish Pandey and Karun Nair lead Karnataka into semis
Manish Pandey and Karun Nair put on 129 in 149 balls. (file photo) © Getty

Manish Pandey stepped up with a captain’s innings on day four of the 2018-19 Ranji Trophy quarter-final between hosts Karnataka and Rajasthan in Bengaluru, hitting a match-winning unbeaten 87 from 75 balls to put his team into the final four.

Deepak Chahar’s dropped sitter at mid-off when Pandey was 38 proved massive, as the India batsman grabbed the bowling by the collar and belted 14 fours and two sixes in his knock.

Set a target of 184 after Rajasthan were bowled out for 222 on Thursday, Karnataka slipped to 45/3 by stumps and on Friday morning lost a fourth wicket when the nightwatchman Ronit More was dismissed for 8 by Tanveer-ul-Haq. That was the last success Rajasthan found, however, as Pandey put on 129 in 24.5 overs with Karun Nair who made 61 from 129 balls. (ALSO READ: Kerala’s march to semi-finals nothing short of a miracle – Sachin Baby)

Pandey was aggressive during his 87, a counter-attacking innings that shoved Rajasthan onto the back foot. His partnership with Nair came in 99 minutes from 149 balls, highlighted by Pandey’s twinkling footwork against spin and pace. Chahar put down a simple catch when Karnataka were 119/4, still 65 runs adrift of their target.

As tempers flared from the Rajasthan camp, Pandey hit Rahul Chahar for a straight six and then two fours to hasten the victory.

Karnataka entered the quarter-finals after finishing third in Elite Group A with 27 points, whereas Rajasthan topped Group C with 51 points courtesy seven wins.

Brief scores: Karnataka 263 & 185/4 (Pandey 87*, Nair 61*) beat Rajasthan 224 and 222 by six wickets