Ranji Trophy Final: Karnataka retain title with comprehensive win
Karnataka got a cash prize of Rs 2 crore while the runners-up Tamil Nadu received a cash prize of Rs 1 crore. (Source: Express Photo by Kevin D’Souza)
Defending champions Karnataka clinched their eighth Ranji Trophy title as they thrashed their southern opponents Tamil Nadu by an innings and 217 runs on the last day of the Ranji Trophy cricket tournament final at the Wankhede stadium in Mumbai on Thursday.
The Vinay Kumar-led side always had the upper hand in the five-day encounter after bundling out Tamil Nadu for 134 in the first innings and then amassing 762 runs courtesy a triple century by middle-order batsman Karun Nair (328).
Chasing an imposing 628, Tamil Nadu were shot out for 411 in 107.5 overs in the final session of the fifth day’s play. Starting the day on 113 for three, Tamil Nadu saw resilient centuries from Vijay Shankar (103) and Dinesh Karthik (120) but the writing was on the wall after their departure.
Leg-spinner Shreyas Gopal (4-126) wrecked the Tamil Nadu batting order with his four scalps. Skipper R Vinay Kumar, who became the joint leading wicket taker this season, ended with two wickets, along with Sreenath Aravind.
But the real hero for Karnataka was the 23-year-old Nair, who deservedly got the man-of the-match award for his maiden triple ton in first-class cricket.
The innings also saw centuries from Lokesh Rahul (188) and R Vinay Kumar (105 not out) as Karnataka did enough to bat just once.
For Tamil Nadu, wicketkeeper-batsman Karthik notched up his 23rd first class century and his 112-ball knock laced with 21 fours and a six, while Shankar made a fluent 103 (164b, 18×4).
Earlier, overnight batsman Baba Aparajith (68) and Vijay Shankar looked poised for a big score, as they batted sensibly. Tamil Nadu however lost Aparajith in the 21st over of the day thanks to a brilliant catch from wicketkeeper Robin Uthappa behind the stumps to get rid off him.
The 20-year old added 32 runs to his overnight score of 36 and his 227 minutes at the crease produced 11 fours. He forged a 112-run stand with Vijay Shankar for the fourth wicket.
His departure brought Karthik to the crease, who set an aggressive tone to the Tamil Nadu innings only witness a sorry end to a brave campaign.
Karthik, who hadn’t scored a single run in the first 20 balls he faced, unleashed a flurry of boundaries. The 29-year old had just three singles to his credit when he notched up his half-century. His run-a-ball 53 comprised 11 fours and a six.
The seasoned cricketer, who missed out in the first innings due to a poor umpiring decision, struck three boundaries in the 68th over off Sharath.
Shankar, despite playing the second fiddle, struck a few shots of his own to usher his century.
The 24-year old who had shared a century stand with Aparajith for the fourth wicket, combined with Karthik to add 115 runs for the fifth wicket.
With Tamil Nadu proceeding, well, Karnataka skipper R Vinay Kumar took the new ball in the 81st over which provided the much-needed breakthrough for the holders.
Shankar miscued a pull shot and Vinay Kumar pouched the ball off his own bowling.
R Prasanna (8) too didn’t last much as he was caught at second slip off H S Sharath in the 88th over.
Tamil Nadu were 378/6 at tea, trailing behind Karnataka’s first innings lead of 628 by 250 runs.
They lost Karthik in the first ball off the second over after the tea, diminishing the hopes of avoiding an innings defeat.
Karthik, who had escaped a caught behind due to a no-ball from Sreenath Aravind in the 91st over, played an inside out shot and was caught at deep cover by Aravind off Gopal.
Aswin Crist was stumped off Gopal two overs later, with Tamil Nadu reeling at 379/8. Malolan Rangarajan hung around sometime playing a couple of strokes to delay the inevitable but was caught at slips off Aravind. His 77-ball 33 yielded six fours.
Prasanth Parameswaran, who was injured on the third day while fielding, did not come into bat.
Karnataka got a cash prize of Rs 2 crore while the runners-up Tamil Nadu received a cash prize of Rs 1 crore.
Brief scores: Tamil Nadu 134 and 411/9 (Dinesh Karthik 120, Vijay Shankar 103, Aparajith 68; Shreyas Gopal 4-126, Vinay Kumar 2-43, Sreentah Aravind 2-52)
Karnataka (1st innings) 762 all out (Karun Nair 328, Lokesh Rahul 188, Vinay Kumar 105 not out; Laxmipathy Balaji 3-120, Malolan Rangarajan 3-183).
Source:: Indian Express