Kedar Jadhav was the star performer for Maharashtra, scoring his fifth century of the season (112, 135b, 10x4), as his team battled for survival against Karnataka in the Ranji Trophy final here on Saturday. Maharashtra finished the fourth day at 272 for six — 62 runs ahead.
Karnataka captain Vinay Kumar’s skills in bowling low full-tosses, which, he says, has often helped him in the T20 format, proved decisive in the final minutes of the day’s play when he removed the well-set Chirag Khurana and Jadhav in quick succession. He took the six-time champion closer to another title.
Vinay also completed 300 wickets in 86 first-class games on Saturday.
Maharashtra, after conceding a 210-run lead, needed its top-order to hold firm on a pitch which continued to be on the slower side with some occasional turn. Opener Harshad Khadiwale, who completed 1,000 runs this season during his brief stay at the crease, was sent back cheaply by Vinay Kumar. Soon, the highly-rated Vijay Zol fell for the second time in the match playing away from his body against Vinay Kumar.
Then, a 118-run stand for the third wicket between Ankit Bawne and Jadhav raised hopes of a Maharashtra fightback. But leg-spinner Shreyas Gopal struck twice in quick succession to send back Bawne and Sangram Atitkar to reduce Maharashtra to 174 for four.
All this was happening even as 28-year-old Jadhav, who had scored 1,074 runs in 10 games before this match, showed an admirable blend of technical competence and aggression.Vinay Kumar cautioned
Earlier, Karnataka’s first innings ended in the 14th over of the day — a phase which also saw Vinay Kumar cautioned by umpire C. Shamsuddin for treading on the danger area of the pitch while batting.
Maharashtra — 1st innings: 305.
Karnataka — 1st innings: Robin Uthappa c (sub) Tripathi b Mundhe 72, Lokesh Rahul c Motwani b Mundhe 131, Ganesh Satish b Khurana 117, Manish Pandey lbw b Fallah 36, Karun Nair c Motwani b Khurana 44, C.M. Gautam c & b Fallah 7, Amit Verma lbw b Fallah 29, Shreyas Gopal c Motwani b Sanklecha 10, R. Vinay Kumar run out 28, Abhimanyu Mithun c Motwani b Mundhe 16, Sreenath Aravind (not out) 0; Extras (b-9, lb-4, nb-9, w-3): 25; Total (in 171.1 overs): 515.
Fall of wickets: 1-230, 2-318, 3-345, 4-380, 5-394, 6-447, 7-461, 8-475, 9-513.
Maharashtra bowling: Samad Fallah 37-8-93-3, Anupam Sanklecha 30-7-83-1, Akshay Darekar 28.5-4-108-0, Shrikant Mundhe 31.1-5-90-3, Chirag Khurana 39.1-10-110-2, Sangram Atitkar 5-0-18-0.
Maharashtra — 2nd innings: Harshad Khadiwale c Ganesh b Vinay 9, Vijay Zol c Gautam b Vinay 31, Ankit Bawne st. Gautam b Gopal 61, Kedar Jadhav c Uthappa b Vinay 112, Sangram Atitkar c Amit b Gopal 0, Chirag Khurana c Uthappa b Vinay 37, Rohit Motwani (batting) 3, Shrikant Mundhe (batting) 3; Extras (b-2, lb-4, w-10): 16; Total (for six wkts. in 68 overs): 272.
Fall of wickets: 1-18, 2-54, 3-172, 4-174, 5-262, 6-268.
Karnataka bowling: Vinay Kumar 21-1-84-4, Abhimanyu Mithun 16-1-47-0, Sreenath Aravind 15-0-49-0, Robin Uthappa 2-0-15-0, Manish Pandey 2-0-14-0, Shreyas Gopal 10-0-37-2, Amit Verma 2-0-20-0.