Karnataka’s capitulation complete

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Before the start of play on the final day of Karnataka’s Ranji Trophy Group ‘B’ fixture against Odisha here, home skipper Vinay Kumar was busy facing throwdowns from a reserve player. In one way, the eleventh-hour preparation was probably indicative of the fact that Vinay, who had bowled his heart out in the contest, felt that his batting skills too would be called into service sometime in the day, as the team’s specialist batsmen have flattered to deceive quite often in the season.

Vinay’s stay in the middle was rather brief but that blip was only a footnote in a bigger tragedy as the Karnataka batting bunch came a cropper for the second time in the match to gift Odisha their first-ever Ranji win against their reputed opponents.

Needing 202 runs more on the final day in pursuit of 245, with nine wickets in hand, the hosts were bowled out for 179, giving Odisha a thumping 65-run win to put behind the visitors’ four defeats against Karnataka in five ties, dating way back to 1984.

Karnataka are down in the dumps with five points from four outings while Odisha catapulted to the top with 13 points.

With their backs firmly against the wall, Karnataka needed to overcome the tenacity of Odisha pacers, who were consistent with their line without cutting out aggression.

But the strongest resistance Karnataka could manage on a forgettable innings was the 57-run alliance between Amit Verma (27) and Stuart Binny (42) before the former was done in by the low bounce off a Deepak Behera delivery.

Deepak (2-38) picked two including the prize scalp of Robin Uthappa (45, 105b, 6x4), whose batting average is tending to become lean as his recently-acquired toned physique.

Man of the match Biplab Samantray, whose second-innings 86 turned things firmly in Odisha’s favour, also picked up two wickets – of Binny and Vinay – in as many balls but it was their pace spearhead Basant Mohanty who set the tone after a delayed start.

After a couple of run-out scares suffered by his partner Uthappa, Ganesh Satish was unlucky to be adjudged lbw to Mohanty in the eighth over. Mohanty struck again in a marathon 11-over spell, this time winning a good shout against Manish Pandey (6).

When Uthappa cut one straight to the hands of wide gully Govind Poddar, Karnataka slipped to 85/4. They reached 104 at lunch without further loss and the home hopes were pinned on a second session, reckoned to be the best for batting under the conditions here.

The writing was on the wall when Binny followed Verma, edging a fuller one from Alok Sahoo behind the wicket. Karnataka stumper C.M. Gautam was the last batsman to be dismissed to trigger off wild celebrations in the Odisha camp even as the 100-odd supporters in the stands witnessed the humiliating capitulation of the home team.

SCOREBOARD
Odisha 1st Innings: 202

Karnataka 1st Innings: 213

Odisha 2nd Innings: 255

Karnataka 2nd Innings: (O/n: 43/1): R. Uthappa c Poddar b Deepak 45, G. Satish lbw Mohanty 19, M. Pandey lbw Mohanty 6, A. Verma b Deepak 27, S. Binny c Sahoo b Samantray 42, C.M. Gautam b Sahoo 18, R. Vinay Kumar lbw Samantray 0, S.L. Akshay c Samantray b Sahoo 1, K.P. Appanna c Samal b Sahoo 0, H.S. Sharath (not out) 0(9m, 4b). Extras (B-6, LB-2, W-1) 9.
Total (all out, 72.3 overs) 179

FoW: 2-58, 3-83, 4-85, 5-142, 6-161, 7-161, 8-170, 9-174

Bowling: B. Mohanty 22-8-31-2, A. Mangaraj 14-4-44-1, B. Samantray 16-4-28-2, D. Behera 12-3-38-2, L. Samal 1-0-3-0, A. Sahoo 7.3-1-27-3

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