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BCCI Staff in Mumbai 16 March 2014 - 05:17pm IST

Vijay Hazare Trophy - Final: Karnataka vs Railways

Mithun, Nair help Karnataka claim third title of the season

Having beaten Railways by four wickets, Karnataka lifted the Vijay Hazare Trophy, on March 16 at Eden Gardens. Despite a top-order collapse in the low-scoring final, Lokesh Rahul and Karun Nair played determined knocks to help their team to a third title in the 2013-14 domestic season.

After stamping their authority in the multi-day format by claiming the Ranji Trophy and Irani Cup, the Vinay Kumar-led side won the one-day competition as well. After Abhimanyu Mithun claimed a four-for to help bundle Railways out for 157, middle-order batsmen Rahul and Nair ensured the team a comfortable victory in the end.

Earlier, Karnataka captain Vinay, who has been leading from the front, gave his team their first breakthrough in the seventh over. Amit Paunikar got out for two, offering a catch to mid-on off Vinay. Shivakant Shukla was the next to be sent back. Robin Uthappa accounted for Shivakant’s wicket, and in his next over, he picked up the crucial wicket of Mahesh Rawat. The ball took the edge of the Railways skipper’s bat and was caught by Rahul behind the stumps.

Wickets continued to tumble for Railways as their batsmen failed to stitch partnerships. Abrar Kazi then had Arindam Ghosh stumped by Rahul. Four runs later, a fuller delivery from Abhimanyu Mithun nicked Ashish Yadav’s bat and was taken by the ‘keeper, leaving Railways on 79 for five.

In the next over, without a run added to the total, Chanderpal Saini was caught leg before wicket by Kazi. Mithun then followed up with the wickets of Karn Sharma and Amit Mishra. While wickets fell like ninepins, Rongsen Jonathan put up a determined resistance lower down the order. Batting at No.7, he added a valuable 46 off 57 balls as he toiled to salvage the innings. His partnership for the ninth wicket with Anureet Singh was ended for 34 with the latter being run out. In the following over, Jonathan perished while hitting Mithun to mid-off, bringing curtains down on the Railways innings with 14 balls still remaining in their quota of overs.

Chasing the 158-run target, Karnataka got off to a good start with Uthappa and Mayank Agarwal striking two boundaries each in the first two overs. But Uthappa, who has been in sublime form, was sent back by Upadhyay off the last ball of the fourth over, leaving the team on 21 for one. Vinay, who has been a handy bat for his team, came in at No.3 as Karnataka looked to close in on the target. But couple of overs later, Anureet disrupted Agarwal’s stumps, while Vinay departed by edging Upadhyay to the wicketkeeper in the next. And with Anureet claiming Manish Pandey in his next over, the match was hanging in balance.

With Karnataka precariously poised on 37 for four in the ninth over, Ganesh Satish joined Rahul in the middle. But 10 runs later Upadhyay had Satish nick the ball to Rawat behind the stumps.

The new-ball bowling pair of Anureet and Upadhyay kept Railways in the fray. With 111 runs still required and half the side back in the dressing room, Nair came to the crease and helped in rebuilding the innings. Both batsmen, who have been consistently performing for their state side through the season, stitched a partnership and stemmed the fall of wickets. They kept the scoreboard ticking as they inched towards the target.

However, Rahul was sent back by Saini, ending a sixth-wicket partnership worth 66 runs that looked to take the game away from Railways. Driving the ball back to the bowler, Rahul departed for 38.

With Kunal Kapoor for company, Nair held the innings together as he endevoured to take team to the target. Without further loss of wickets, Nair, who remained unbeaten on 53, took Karnataka across the line and to their third domestic title of the season. 

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