Ranji, Irani and now Vijay Hazare for Karnataka

Karnataka annexed a historic triple crown here at the Eden Gardens on Sunday. The Ranji and Irani Cup champion lifted the STAR Sports Vijay Hazare Trophy for the first time defeating Railways by four wickets in a low-scoring final.

Karnataka asked Railways to take first strike and restricted the 2005-06 champion to 157 in 47.4 overs with Man-of-the-Match Abhimanyu Mithun picking up four wickets for 19 runs.

In reply, Karnataka overcame a terrible start to coast to 158 for six in 43 overs.

“It was great achievement,” said Karnataka captain R. Vinay Kumar. “Winning three tournaments in the same year was owing to an excellent team work.”

Is this the greatest team from Karnataka? “I would say yes basing on its performance and achievement. It is not easy to win three tournaments in the same season,” he said.

Slow track

On a slow track, the Railway batsmen failed to apply themselves. Opener Shivakant Shukla and Arindam Ghosh were the culprits failing to make it big after getting good starts. The team quickly collapsed to 83 for seven in 31 overs. Jonathan Rongsen and Amit Mishra came together to add 38 runs for the eighth wicket.

The ninth wicket too contributed 34 off 35 balls to give a fighting total of 157.

“Our batsmen did not apply themselves,” rued Railway coach Abhay Sharma.

“Another 50 runs would have given us a good chance to stay in the game.”

Early strike

When Karnataka began the chase, both Anureet Singh and Krishnakant Upadhyay were in terrific form.

By the 12th over, Karnataka was reduced to a pathetic 47 for five. Robin Uthappa, Mayank Agarwal, Vinay Kumar and Manish Pandey all fell to poor strokes while Ganesh Satish was surprised by the one that climbed on him.

The Railway success ended when the two pacers were taken off. Karun Nair and Lokesh Rahul steadied the innings with very sensible batting. Rahul (12) survived a confident leg before shot from Karn Sharma and again when on 23 edged the same bowler past the wicketkeeper and the slip. The sixth wicket added 66 runs in 117 balls before Rahul (38) was dismissed.

Nair reached his third half-century in List ‘A’ games to remain unbeaten on 53 (86b, 4x4) and Kunal Kapoor was unbeaten on 24 (45b, 2x4) when Karnataka overhauled the target.

CAB president Jagmohan Dalmiya handed over the trophy to Vinay Kumar.

The scores: Railways: Amit Paunikar c Satish b Vinay 2, Shivakant Shukla c Satish b Uthappa 21, Arindam Ghosh st. Rahul b Kazi 33, Mahesh Rawat c Rahul b Uthappa 4, Ashish Yadav c Rahul b Mithun 11, Chanderpal Saini lbw b Kazi 2, Jonathan Rongsen c Pandey b Mithun 46, Karn Sharma c Rahul b Mithun 1, Amit Mishra c Rahul b Mithun 17, Anureet Singh run out 11, Krishnakant Upadhyay (not out) 1; Extras (b-1, w-7): 8; Total (in 47.4 overs): 157.

Fall of wickets: 1-13, 2-39, 3-50, 4-75, 5-79, 6-79, 7-83, 8-121, 9-155.

Karnataka bowling: Vinay Kumar 9-1-35-1, Abhimanyu Mithun 9.4-1-19-4, H.S. Sharath 9-0-45-0, Abrar Kazi 12-2-27-2, Robin Uthappa 4-0-19-2, Manish Pandey 4-1-11-0.

Karnataka: Robin Uthappa c Ghosh b Upadhyay 8, Mayank Agarwal b Anureet 19, R. Vinay Kumar c Rawat b Upadhyay 8, Lokesh Rahul c & b Saini 38, Manish Pandey c Rawat b Anureet 1, Ganesh Satish c Rawat b Upadhyay 2, Karun Nair (not out) 53, Kunal Kapoor (not out) 24; Extras (nb-1, w-4): 5; Total (for six wkts. in 43 overs): 158.

Fall of wickets: 1-21, 2-36, 3-36, 4-37, 5-47, 6-113.

Railways bowling: Anureet Singh 9-1-41-2, Krishnakant Upadhyay 9-2-30-3, Karn Sharma 12-0-51-0, Amit Mishra 3-0-6-0, Ashish Yadav 5-0-13-0, Chanderpal Saini 5-0-17-1.

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