Mayank Agarwal’s dream run in domestic cricket continued as his power-packed 140 off only 111 balls was the cornerstone in Karnataka’s crushing 103-run victory over Hyderabad in the quarter-final match of Vijay Hazare Trophy in New Delhi on Wednesday.
Along with Ravikumar Samarth (125 off 124 balls), Mayank added 242 runs for the second wicket as Karnataka piled up a huge 347 for 8 in 50 overs and then bowled out Hyderabad for 244 in 42.5 overs with Shreyas Gopal picking up 5 for 31.
The day certainly belonged to Agarwal, who had scored more than 1000 runs in Ranji Trophy this season.
Post match, he was asked if he had a point to prove to Rahul Dravid, who in 2015-16 had said that Agarwal needed to be more consistent.
“I am not out here to prove any point to anyone. In the past one and half years, my consistency has improved and I am more aware about my strengths and weaknesses. I am grateful to my coach Mr RX Murali, who has worked with me extensively on my game. He helped me evolve as a player,” Agarwal told reporters after the game.
With chairman of selectors MSK Prasad and his colleague Sarandeep Singh in attendance at the Kotla, the right-handed opener cashed in on a placid Kotla track in company of another India A player Samarth, with both making merry of the Hyderabad attack.
Although Mohammed Siraj (5/59 in 10 overs) was the most successful bowler for Hyderabad, most of his wickets came during the death overs when Karnataka batsmen were going for their shots.
The day certainly belonged to Agarwal as he punished each and every Hyderabad bowler with equal disdain.
There were a couple of front-foot and a backfoot cover drive off Siraj, an on-drive off Ravi Kiran which signalled his intent.
When left-arm spinner Mehdi Hassan was introduced into the attack, Agarwal lofted him for a straight six. A back cut off Hassan got him to his 50. His eighth List A century came when he slog-swept off-spinner PS Sairam over deep mid-wicket for a huge six. In all, he hit 12 boundaries and seven sixes.
His partner Samarth played more along the ground as he square and swept leg-spinner Akash Bhandari. He hit 13 boundaries but only after reaching 50 did he take the aerial route. This was his first century in List A cricket.
The chase was always out of question but Ambati Rayudu (64 off 62 balls) and BP Sandeep (42 off 47 balls) did add 98 runs for the fourth wicket as Hyderabad were 202 for 3 in the 35th over.
However, trying to hit Gopal against the turn proved to be their undoing as next seven wickets fell in a heap for the addition of only 42 runs.
Once Sandeep and Rayudu were out in quick succession, Hyderabad’s lower-middle order failed to offer any resistance.
Brief Scores: Karnataka 347/8 (Mayank Agarwal 140 off 111 balls, Ravikumar Samarth 125 off 124 balls, Mohammed Siraj 5/59).
Hyderabad 244 in 42.5 overs (Ambati Rayudu 64 off 62 balls, Shreyas Gopal 5/31). Karnataka won by 103 runs