Karnataka wins an edge of the seat thriller

Man of the moment: Just when Mumbai seemed to running away with the contest, Abhimanyu Mithun picked up the important wicket of Shivam Dube.

Man of the moment: Just when Mumbai seemed to running away with the contest, Abhimanyu Mithun picked up the important wicket of Shivam Dube.  

Abhimanyu Mithun’s crucial strikes trumps Shivam Dube’s blistering hundred

A gallant hundred by Shivam Dube went in vain as Karnataka edged Mumbai by nine runs in a thriller at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium. Dube’s brutal 67-ball-118 (7x4, 10x6) was the highlight of an extraordinary Vijay Hazare Trophy Elite Group-A clash that produced twists and turns right till the very end.

After setting Mumbai 313 for victory, Karnataka seemed in control following three crucial strikes by off-spinner K. Gowtham. But from 169 for six in the 31st over, Mumbai rallied, with Dube unleashing a stunning counter-attack. The all-rounder, battling cramps in his hamstring and calf muscles, thumped one big hit after another, favouring the area down the ground. And as the sixes rained down, Karnataka looked shellshocked in the field. Shreyas Gopal, in particular, suffered at Dube’s hands. The leg-spinner was caned for 60 runs in his first five overs; he eventually finished with one for 80 from 8 overs.

Powerful hits

Dhrumil Matkar fell at the other end, but Dube carried on, as the momentum steadily shifted. The big all-rounder had taken 41 balls to complete his fifty. He needed only 17 more deliveries to get to his ton, clubbing six sixes in that duration. The century — his first in List-A cricket — arrived with consecutive sixes off Ronit More, both struck powerfully over long-on.

The breakthrough was eventually delivered by Abhimanyu Mithun, Dube failing in his attempt to clear the long-on boundary. Mumbai needed 36 runs from 8.5 overs at that stage, with two wickets in hand. Karnataka’s spirits were suddenly raised but Mumbai would not yield. It was baffling that Manish Pandey took Mithun, who had one over left, out of the attack when wickets were the priority. Prasidh Krishna trapped Shardul Thakur leg-before with Mumbai 25 away from victory, but with little pressure from the other end, the final pair of Dhawal Kulkarni and Tushar Deshpande moved closer and closer to the target.

It was Mithun who finished things off, as he ran in to bowl his last — and the game’s penultimate — over. With Mumbai needing 10 more runs, Kulkarni swung at a slower delivery; the ball looped up in the air, and Karun Nair shuffled backwards from point to complete a fine catch. Mithun sprinted off into the distance, exploding in joy.

Top of the pile

Karnataka remains on top of the combined A and B table, with 20 points, and has inched closer to a quarterfinal berth. Mumbai, though, will have to fight.

In the morning, Karnataka rode on the back of a fine opening stand of 137 runs (134 balls), between K.L. Rahul and Devdutt Padikkal. Pandey then made his fifth score in excess of fifty this tournament, before Gowtham and Mithun struck a few big blows, as Karnataka surged past 300. It would prove just enough.

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Printable version | May 31, 2020 11:43:24 AM |

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