Entering into the Ranji Trophy 2017 semifinals against Vidarbha on the back of a massive victory over 41-time Champions Mumbai in the quarters, Karnataka expected to attain an easy win to reach the finals. The plans worked out well initially for the side led by seamer Vinay Kumar, as the defending champions managed to get to a strong 115-run lead in the first innings. Vidarbha batted well in the second innings and gave a target of 198 for Karnataka to chase.
Hoping to have an easy run chase, the side suffered a batting collapse with bowler Rajneesh Gurani bowling the spell of his career so far. The medium fast bowler took 7 wickets and helped his side in winning the match by just 5 runs on the fifth day.
Speaking on the upset, Karnataka skipper Vinay Kumar said his side did not deserve to reach the finals. “Our batting let us down. Chasing 198 is not a difficult task. With nine runs remaining to win, we could have been more sensible. We don’t deserve to be in final. It feels bad, since we did so well in the matches before this, and we came so close in this match. One bad display of batting cost us the tournament,” he told reporters.
Kumar, who himself gave away his wicket at a crucial stage on the final day said, “Most of us got out to bad shots, including me. I should have let that ball go to the wicketkeeper.”
The 33-year old also went on to praise Gurani for his efforts in the match. “I think that he [Gurbani] really made a difference. His energy levels were really good. He was bowling long spells. He was bowling in areas where our batsmen were not comfortable,” he said.
Talking about the positives from the match, Kumar said that he is happy to see the batting performance displayed by the top-order batsmen, especially Mayank Agarwal and Krishnappa Gowtham.
“Definitely the top-order batsmen getting scores. Very rare sight for me as a captain. The team is putting up 500+ runs. We’ve done that before but not so consistently. These (Mayank and Gowtham) are the guys to take Karnataka forward for long years. They have a very bright future where they can go and play for the country. They need to learn how to perform in these kinds of matches. It’s not about the league games,” he said.
Vidarbha will now clash with Delhi in the Ranji Trophy final which will be played between December 29 and January 2 in Indore.