Chasing a target of 333, UP were bundled out for 240 in 65.3 overs

Much had been promised but Uttar Pradesh’s challenge evaporated steadily under the winter sun. It was all sewn up before 2 o’clock on Saturday, when Vinay Kumar bowled Ankit Rajpoot neck and crop to lead Karnataka into the semifinals of the Ranji Trophy.

The leg-spinning allrounder Shreyas Gopal, cheered to the rafters by vocal crowd at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium, finished with five wickets as Uttar Pradesh was dismissed for 240, the margin of defeat 92 runs.

“I’m very happy that this came at the right time for the team,” Shreyas said later. Karnataka will now play Punjab in Mohali from January 18 for a place in the final.

Chasing 333 for the win, Uttar Pradesh set off from 55 for one on the fourth morning. Tanmay Srivastava looked at ease, punching Vinay for a couple of boundaries through point. The Karnataka captain, however, had his revenge, drawing an edge that Manish Pandey held at first slip.

Exchange of words

The two sets of players had exchanged a few angry words earlier and there was some edge to proceedings again, Srivastava displeased with the warm farewell the fielders gave him.The batsman laughed it off later, however.

“When two good sides play good quality cricket, this is bound to happen,” he said.“It was not sledging,” Vinay felt.

“This is a knock-out game and we needed to be in their faces.”Abhimanyu Mithun, deservedly declared the Man-of-the-Match, then struck three balls later, Mohammad Kaif driving him into Vinay’s hands on the offside.

At the other end, Ali Murtaza and Prashant Gupta had gone after Shreyas, with a view to pummelling him out of the attack.

But after copping a few initial blows, the 20-year-old delivered a fine riposte. Murtaza danced down the wicket, only to find the ball beyond reach; he shuffled this way and that and looked around in general confusion as he was bowled.

The contest was for all intents and purposes over by lunch, by which time two more batsmen had fallen, but the seventh-wicket pair of Piyush Chawla and Eklavya Dwivedi added 70 runs to frustrate the home side. It is a running joke that Chawla is his side’s best batsman and when he holed out to Karun Nair at long-on for 44, the joint-highest score of the UP innings, the verdict was delivered.

The scores:

Karnataka — 1st innings: 349.

Uttar Pradesh — 1st innings: 221 for nine decl.

Karnataka — 2nd innings: 204.

Uttar Pradesh — 2nd innings: Tanmay Srivastava c Pandey b Vinay 44, Mukul Dagar c Uthappa b Shreyas 23, Ali Murtaza b Shreyas 29, Mohammad Kaif c Vinay b Mithun 0, Prashant Gupta c Gautam b Shreyas 19, Parvinder Singh b Mithun 8, Eklavya Dwivedi c Vinay b Mithun 33, Piyush Chawla c Karun b Shreyas 44, Amit Mishra c Gautam b Shreyas 4, Ankit Rajpoot b Vinay 14, R.P. Singh (not out) 3; Extras (b-8, lb-9, nb-2): 19; Total (in 65.3 overs): 240.

Fall of wickets: 1-53, 2-85, 3-86, 4-125, 5-134, 6-138, 7-208, 8-213, 9-222.

Karnataka bowling: Vinay Kumar 21.3-4-72-2, Abhimanyu Mithun 20-3-71-3, Robin Uthappa 1-0-2-0, Shreyas Gopal 16-1-59-5, Abrar Kazi 3-2-7-0, Manish Pandey 4-1-12-0.

Man-of-the-Match: Abhimanyu Mithun.

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