Badrinath comes up with a match-winning knock

Tamil Nadu made best use of favourable conditions to coast to a seven-wicket victory over Karnataka, and with it, emerged the K.S. Subbaiah Pillai Trophy champion here on Wednesday.

Tamil Nadu (18 points) was barely threatened in this virtual final, while an insipid Karnataka (14 points) slipped to second-spot.

Both teams, however, have gained direct entries to the quarterfinal round of the all-India Vijay Hazare Trophy.

The visitor’s first use of overcast conditions proved crucial. The seaming pitch posed a considerable challenge for the Karnataka batsmen, and their task was made harder by Tamil Nadu’s best bowler, L. Balaji.

The pacer extracted huge movement off the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium wicket by keeping the ball full, and stunned Karnataka with three crucial middle-order wickets. From 72 for two, the pacer displayed supreme skill to leave the host tottering at 90 for five.

Balaji had K.L. Rahul and Manish Pandey caught-behind — the former edging an outswinger and Pandey leg-glancing an inswinger. Just five balls after Pandey fell, Balaji took out Karun Nair’s off-stump with a vicious incoming delivery.

Karnataka did not recover from here — and with C.M. Gautham retiring after a knee injury — closed its innings at 168 for nine in 40.3 overs. Left-arm spinner Rahil Shah contributed with a three-wicket haul as well.

The chase began with a golden duck for M. Vijay, who fell to a questionable LBW decision off R. Vinay Kumar. Vinay, who took a page out of Balaji’s book of sticking to the basics of seam bowling, then struck again.

Baba Aparajith glanced one to Robin Uthappa, the reserve wicketkeeper, and with the first two wickets gone for just nine runs, the match briefly hung in the balance.

S. Badrinath and U. Sushil Kumar were put to the test; both survived quite a few tense moments.

Once the sun came out, however, they flourished. The pitch turned flat, and so did the Karnataka bowling. Badrinath (81 n.o.) and Shushil (73) eased their way to a 144-run partnership for the third wicket, and Tamil Nadu soon cantered home with 11.1 overs to spare.

The scores: Karnataka 168 for nine in 40.3 overs (innings closed) (Robin Uthappa 33, Rahil Shah three for 28, L. Balaji three for 39) lost to Tamil Nadu 169 for three in 38.5 overs (S. Badrinath 81 n.o., U. Sushil Kumar 73).

Kerala 160 in 46.4 overs (P.M. Anfal 89, Achutha Rao three for 38) lost to Andhra Pradesh 161 for four in 37 overs (B. Ricky 74 n.o., Jyothi Sai Krishna 61 n.o.).

Goa 289 in 50 overs (Sagun Kamat 112, Keenan Vaz 111, Ravi Kiran five for 53) lost to Hyderabad 290 for nine in 49.4 overs (Ravi Teja 87, Ashish Reddy 62 n.o., Hanuma Vihari 45, H. Gadekar four for 73).

Final standings (points in brackets): 1. Tamil Nadu (18), 2. Karnataka (14), 3. Andhra Pradesh (12), 4. Hyderabad (10), 5. Kerala (6), 6. Goa (0).

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