Manish Pandey’s brilliant 87* and a strong 61 from Karun Nair helped Karnataka hold their nerve to secure a tense six-wicket win on the fourth day of the 2018/19 Ranji Trophy quarterfinal at the M Chinnaswamy stadium on Friday. Pandey and Nair’s brilliant knocks complimented the earlier efforts of R Vinay Kumar, who played a magnificent knock of 83 and shared a 97-run stand for the final wicket with Ronit More that proved to be the game-changer for the eight-time champions. Rajasthan were bowled out for 224 in the first innings with Krishnappa Gowtham taking 3/54 and Abhimanyu Mithun taking 3/48. In response, Karnataka were reduced to 166/9 but the final wicket stand helped Karnataka take a vital 39-run lead.
Karnataka stumbled again in the second innings, managing just 222 as Gowtham proved to be the destroyer again, taking 4/54. After being reduced to 40/3 at the end of day 3, Karnataka lost Ronit More early on day 4 but Nair and Pandey ensured there would be no further hiccups.
Pandey started off the day in style by smashing three boundaries off Tanvir ul-Haq. Pandey and Karun found the boundaries consistently and the run-rate was brisk. Pandey, in particular, was in tremendous form as he blasted three more boundaries off Mahipal Lomror and blasted one four and six off Rahul Chahar. The right-hander ended the innings in style by blasting one more six and four off Chahar to help Karnataka enter the last four where they will meet the winner of the Uttar Pradesh vs Saurashtra encounter in Lucknow.
Currently, Uttar Pradesh are in pole position after Rinku Singh’s 150 and Yash Dayal’s 4/55 gave Uttar Pradesh a lead of 177 runs. Shivam Mavi dismissing Cheteshwar Pujara, the leading run-getter in the series against Australia cheaply was the highlight of the contest. However, Saurashtra fought back with Dharmendrasinh Jadeja taking 4/53. Chasing 372 for a win, Saurashtra made a good start but have lost Snell Patel in their chase.
Kerala create history
In a low-scoring thriller in Wayanad, Kerala got the better of 2016/17 champions Gujarat. Kerala were bundled out for 185 with Chintan Gaja taking 4/57. In response, Sandeep Warrier (4/42), Basil Thampi (3/61) and MD Nidheesh (3/38) combined to give Kerala a slender 23-run lead. Kerala were bowled out for 171 with Roosh Kalaria raking a wonderful hat-trick. Chasing 195, Kerala were bowled out for 81 with Thampi taking 5/27 and Warrier chipping in with 4/30. Sijomen Joseph was the only player to hit a fifty from both sides.
Kerala will now face the winner of the Vidarbha vs Uttarakhand game. However, the defending champions are on top thanks to Wasim Jaffer’s 57th century in this tournament. Jaffer’s double ton, combined with centuries from Sanjay Ramaswamy and Aditya Sarwate helped Vidarbha reach 629, a lead of 274 runs.