Updated: January 31, 2014 3:51:57 pm
The change in Karnataka’s attitude was evident right from the first over of the day. Skipper, R Vinay Kumar, sent down six balls, all clustered in one channel, just on and outside the batsman’s off-stump. He beat the bat twice. The discipline in those six balls was a welcome change from day one, where the Karnataka bowlers invariably strayed on to the pads.
Next over, first ball, strike one. Abhimanyu Mithun, steamed in from wide of the crease. The ball angled into the batsman, and Ankeet Bawne, Maharashtra’s rescuer on day one, was stunned into immobility as he heard the ball crash into the stumps behind him.
Bawne, sent back to the pavilion on his overnight score of 89, could only watch as the disciplined Karnataka bowlers flattened what remained of the Maharashtra batting line-up, letting them add just 33 runs to their total. Last night, Maharashtra looked like they might reach 400 if Bawne hung around, but instead, the side was bowled out for 305.
Just over an hour into the first session, Karnataka’s batsmen came out and thumped Maharashtra all over the park to finish at a strong 230 for no loss, just 75 runs behind. Samad Fallah’s in-cutter crashed into Robin Uthappa’s elbow, forcing the batsman to retire hurt but by then the wicket had settled down and the Karnataka duo of Ganesh and Rahul exacted full toll.
Ganesh, was particularly aggressive, driving the pacers confidently on both sides of the wicket but happiest to glide and glance anything on the pads. The Maharashtra bowlers, who seemed frustrated after the profligacy of their fielders, looked to have lost sight of the agreed bowling plan. KL Rahul, who had executed a cracking pull shot against an Anupam Sanklecha bouncer, could not believe his luck as he was served three of the same in Shrikant Mundhe’s next over, all three duly pasted to the fence.
Ganesh, who has had a rather indifferent season this far, getting dropped mid-way through the group stage for poor form, feasted on Maharashtra’s uninspiring bowling. Twice in a row, he stepped out to Akshay Darekar, connecting cleanly as he sent the ball soaring behind mid-on for two boundaries. Ganesh who has two half-centuries this season, got to his sixth first class hundred, late-cutting Atitkar for a boundary. Ganesh finished the day unbeaten on 117 off 207 balls. Atitkar made a mess of another dolly that the batsmen handed out, 11 short of his ton.
Topper tops again
At the other end, Rahul, who is Karnataka’s highest run-getter this season with 1061 runs at 81.61, was closing in on his third century of the season. Unbeaten on 94, Rahul’s innings was embellished with nine boundaries. Seven of those were elegant front foot drives, with the batsman’s nimble footwork allowing him time to place the ball expertly. The only six of the game so far, also came off 21-year-old’s bat, as he dumped Chirag Khurana ten rows behind long-on, emphatically stamping Karnataka’s complete domination on the second day of this final.
While Karnataka seemed focussed with both bat and ball in hand, Maharashtra were all at sea. In the morning, their batsmen committed the mistakes of Day One, hanging their bats out and chasing deliveries down the leg-side. When fielding, they looked lethargic, grassing five catches, three of them absolute sitters.
Earlier, Maharashtra had the chance to assert themselves right at the beginning, just as Karnataka found their feet. In the second over, Harshad Khadiwale put out a dive and got his fingertips to a KL Rahul outside edge off Samad Fallah at gully. It seemed like a half-chance with the ball flying off the edge, but two overs later, Ganesh’s outside edge seemed headed straight to ‘keeper Rohit Motwani, who dropped the regulation chance. Next over, Anupam Sanklecha’s straight delivery stopped on KL Rahul, who nonetheless got a solid connection on the ball, only uppishly. Sanklecha stuck out his hand, the ball thudded into the palm and then popped out. Half an hour into the Karnataka innings, three dropped catches and Maharashtra had begun staring down the barrel.
As the day progressed, they dropped two more. Simple chances, but synonymous with Maharashtra’s day where absolutely nothing went their way, the growing frustration giving way to a sense of resignation about their fate.
Maharashtra 1st innings
H Khadiwale lbw Vinay 15, C Khurana lbw b Nair 64, V Zol c Gautam b Aravind 5,K Jadhav c Gautam b Mithun 37,A Bawne b Mithun 89, R Motwani c Gautam b Mithun 17, S Atitkar c Gautam b Aravind 50, S Mundhe c Pandey b Aravind 7, A Darekar c Aravind b Vinay Kumar 2, A Sanklecha lbw b Vinay Kumar 1, S Fallah not out 2
Extras: (b 5, lb 6, nb 5) 16
Total (all out; 104.1 overs) 305
FoW: 1-24, 2-42, 3-90, 4-144, 5-215, 6-272, 7-294, 8-301, 9-302, 10-305.
Bowling: Vinay Kumar 30.1-6-81-3, A Mithun 23-8-49-3, S Aravind 26-6-65-3, M Pandey 1-0-2-0, S Gopal 13-0-54-0, K Nair 5-1-21-1, A Verma 4-0-14-0, G Satish 2-0-8-0
Karnataka 1st innings
R Uthappa retired hurt 10, L Rahul not out 94, G Satish not out 117
Extras: (b 5, w 2, nb 2) 9
Total (0 wickets; 68 overs) 230
Bowling: S Fallah 16-2-40-0, A Sanklecha 15-3-40-0, A Darekar 9.5-0-49-0, S Mundhe 12-2-43-0, C Khurana 10.1-0-35-0, S Atitkar 5-0-18-0
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