It was a finish that stretched the host's nerves. Finally the tale ended well with Karnataka emerging as champion in the K.S. Subbaiah Pillai Trophy tournament here on Sunday.
Chasing Karnataka's 275, Andhra tottered at 153 for nine and while an upset-triumph was ruled out, the visitor's tail wagged. If Andhra had scored 221 then Karnataka would have lost the bonus point. The outcome of the game between Tamil Nadu and Hyderabad would have then determined the final topper.
Belatedly, Karnataka skipper Robin Uthappa, who had batted well earlier for his 104 (95b, 11x4, 2x6), employed Stuart Binny and Ronit More and that too after the last-wicket pair of Atchut Rao and Shiva Kumar had it easy against spin for more than 11 overs! More did the trick to clean bowl Shiva Kumar.
Andhra (one point) was bowled out for 219 and with the added bonus point, Karnataka finished with 18 to stay ahead of second-placed Hyderabad (16), which vanquished defending champion Tamil Nadu (14) by 36 runs. Karnataka and Hyderabad qualified for the Vijay Hazare All India tournament.
Prashant bats well
Andhra's chase rested on opener D.B. Prashant Kumar (61) and the last-wicket pair's 66-run partnership before Karnataka found its path. In the morning, Karnataka's batting thrived on the top-order of Uthappa, Mayank Agarwal (42) and Ganesh Satish (67).
Uthappa, who notched up his second successive ton, batted with disdain and a straight four off Basha was the pick of his shots. Uthappa also enjoyed a reprieve on 86 when Shiva Kumar dropped him at long-off and later though he proved too slow to don the thinking cap better sense prevailed and he and his team ended up smiling.
Meanwhile Tamil Nadu, which missed its injured skipper L. Balaji, failed against Hyderabad. T. Suman's 122 (117b, 14x4, 3x6) anchored Hyderabad to 333 for nine and later captain Ravi Teja's five-wicket haul stopped Tamil Nadu at 297 despite Abhinav Mukund's 104 (109b, 6x4, 2x4).
The scores: Karnataka 275 in 48.3 overs (Robin Uthappa 104, Ganesh Satish 67, Mayank Agarwal 42, Basha three for 57) bt Andhra 219 in 47.4 overs (D.B. Prashant 61, Atchut Rao 37 n.o., Syed Shahabuddin 27, Kazi four for 33).
Hyderabad 333 for nine in 50 overs (T. Suman 122, Ravi Teja 69, I. Khaleel 45, H. Vihari 32, Ashish Reddy 32) bt Tamil Nadu 297 in 47.2 overs (Abhinav Mukund 104, Anirudha Srikkanth 77, Suresh Kumar 30, Shri Vasudeva Das 27, Ravi Teja five for 45).
Goa 250 for eight in 50 overs (Reagan Pinto 65, Rohit Asnodkar 45, Robin D'Souza 44 n.o., P. Prashanth three for 58) bt Kerala 152 in 39.4 overs (Robert Fernandez 51, Anfal 44, S.B. Yadav four for 21).
Keywords: K.S. Subbaiah Pillai Trophy tournament