Maharashtra batted in a peculiar way and is looking at an impending defeat.

First its batsmen fell like nine pins for a paltry 99 to the Karnataka seamers Abhimanyu Mithun (six for 36) and Stuart Binny (four for 37) and following on, the same batsmen scored at well over four runs an over and post 315 for two in the Ranji Trophy Group ‘B’ match at the Subrata Roy Sahara Stadium here on Monday.

Karnataka is still ahead by 158 runs and on Tuesday it has the option of the second new ball which it can claim after six overs in order to look for a favourable result and the knockout cut.

In quest of the form that has eluded him right through the season, Mithun struck in the 20th ball of the day removing Harshad Khadiwale. A procession ensued thereupon with Mithun and Binny’s pace and swing bowling the batsmen neck and crop, make them nick to the `keeper and gully and trap a tail-ender leg before.

Most incisive spell

It was the most incisive spell of 6.1 overs from Mithun in four seasons; it improved upon his previous best of six for 71 against Mumbai in the second innings of the 2009-10 Ranji Trophy final played at Mysore.

Mithun and Binny largely exploited the freshness of the morning wicket, a new ball that was only 16 overs old and overcast conditions to send wickets tumbling. Former Maharashtra fast bowler Pandurang Salgaoncar who is in-charge of the ground here at Gahunje Village said that the seam bowlers in general lack the basic skill to manipulate the ball, but appreciated the delivery sent down by Binny on Sunday evening to clean bowl Pragyan Bhati. He even went to the extent of making a prediction that Binny has the ability to swerve the ball away from the right hander’s leg stump line and would meet with more success.

Ideal foil

In the event, the Karnataka skipper proved to be an ideal foil for the linchpin in Mithun and played his part to bring down the home team in a matter of 79 balls bowled in one hour and fifteen minutes. Mithun also took a smart catch at backward point when Bawne cut Binny hard and failed to keep the shot down. He was on a hat-trick, but Satyajeet Bacchav prevented it.

Maharashtra’s batting in the second innings worked like magic. Hurt and embarrassed by the first innings setback, Khadiwale (136, 273m, 193b, 19x4s, 1x6) and opener Sangram Atitkar rattled up 76 in 16 overs by lunch. They dominated further and raised 156 before Atitkar edged H.S. Sharath to Amit Verma at gully.

It took the visitor two and half hours to dislodge one of the openers in the second innings and another 36 overs to dismiss a second batsmen in Khadiwale.

The scores:

Karnataka — 1st innings: 572 for nine decl.

Maharashtra — 1st innings: P. Bhati b Binny 16, H. Khadiwale b Mithun 38, S. Atitkar b Mithun 8, K. Jadhav c Gautam b Binny 1, A. Bawne c Mithun b Binny 4, R. Motwani c Gautam b Mithun 6, R. Tripathi c Gautam b Binny 6, S. Mundhe c Verma b Mithun 0, S. Bacchav (not out) 5, S. Chadhari lbw b Mithun 0, S. Fallah b Mithun 4; Extras (b-4, lb-2, nb-4, w-1): 11; Total (in 29.1 overs): 99.

Fall of wicket: 1-40, 2-68, 3-69, 4-73, 5-80, 6-80, 7-80, 8-90, 9-91.

Karnataka bowling: Mithun 13.1-1-36-6, Sharath 6-1-20-0, Binny 10-2-37-4.

Maharashtra — 2nd innings: H. Khadiwale b Moinuddin 136, S. Atitkar c Verma b Sharath 78, A. Bawne batting 80, R. Motwani (batting) 2; Extras (b-4, lb-10, nb-2, w-3): 19; Total (for two wkts. in 74 overs): 315.

Fall of wickets: 1-156, 2-302.

Karnataka bowling: Sharath 15-3-54-1, Mithun 12-3-39-0, Binny 10-1-53-0, Gowtham 16-2-60-0, Moinuddin 15-0-64-1, Verma 4-0-21-0, Kapoor 2-0-10-0.

Keywords: Ranji Trophy

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