Rest of India surrendered in abject fashion as Karnataka sailed to a fifth Irani Cup triumph with a minimum of fuss here on Wednesday. The last seven Rest wickets tumbled in an hour-and-a-half on the fourth morning, leaving the home side winner by an innings and 222 runs at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium.
Shreyas Gopal administered the final rites with a hat-trick, only the seventh Karnataka bowler to take one in first-class cricket. The victory made Karnataka the first Ranji Trophy champion in the last eight seasons to win the Irani Cup, a measure of the side’s dominance this season.
“It was really shocking that we lost seven wickets in the first one-and-a-half hours. It’s disappointing because Rest of India consists of the best domestic players; they’re all aiming to play for the country. But we should give credit to their bowlers, Vinay Kumar especially,” said Lalchand Rajput, the Rest of India coach.
Karnataka captain Vinay Kumar, who turned 30 on the day, lauded his players for their effort — an eighth outright win in nine matches this season. “There is so much hard work behind this. This is not just about 11 players; whoever came into the team performed well when they got the chance. This is such a wonderful team to captain. This win has come like a birthday gift for me,” he said.
With Rest of India needing 291 runs overnight to make Karnataka bat again, there was never any danger of the match extending into a fifth day. But the manner in which the visitors capitulated was feeble.
The floodgates opened with Dinesh Karthik’s dismissal half-an-hour into the day’s proceedings, when he was bowled by Vinay.
The Karnataka captain struck again two balls later, trapping Mandeep Singh in front. Vinay, who finished with four wickets here and 10 from both innings, was declared Man-of-the-match.
Amit Mishra was run out going for a needless single, Shreyas hitting the stumps with a fine throw from cover. Rest skipper Harbhajan Singh then gave Shreyas his first wicket of the morning, chipping him straight to mid-on. The 20-year-old leg-spinner wrapped things up with a hat-trick a few minutes later, to claim his second first-class five-wicket haul.
B. Aparajith, who top-scored with 66, was the first victim, caught on the long-off boundary by Stuart Binny. Ashoke Dinda was bowled by a googly and when Pankaj Singh met the same fate, it sparked animated celebrations on the pitch.
Karnataka last won the Irani Cup in 1998 at the same venue, under Venkatesh Prasad.
Rest of India — 1st innings: 201.
Karnataka — 1st innings: 606.
Rest of India — 2nd innings: Jiwanjot Singh lbw b Vinay 7, Gautam Gambhir c Pandey b Vinay 9, B. Aparajith c Binny b Shreyas 66, Kedar Jadhav c Pandey b Shreyas 44, Dinesh Karthik b Vinay 27, Mandeep Singh lbw b Vinay 2, Amit Mishra run out 5, Harbhajan Singh c Vinay b Shreyas 8, Anureet Singh (not out) 7, Ashoke Dinda b Shreyas 0, Pankaj Singh b Shreyas 0; Extras (b-6, lb-2): 8; Total (in 57.5 overs): 183.
Fall of wickets: 1-11 (Gambhir), 2-20 (Jiwanjot), 3-91 (Jadhav), 4-140 (Karthik), 5-142 (Mandeep), 6-151 (Mishra), 7-162 (Harbhajan), 8-183 (Aparajith), 9-183 (Dinda).
Karnataka bowling: R. Vinay Kumar 16-1-70-4, A. Mithun 16-3-41-0, H.S. Sharath 8-5-11-0, Stuart Binny 6-1-13-0, Shreyas Gopal 9.5-0-35-5, Robin Uthappa 1-0-1-0, Karun Nair 1-0-4-0.
Man-of-the-match: R. Vinay Kumar.