With an emphatic 101-run win against Andhra, Punjab claimed the Under-23 CK Nayudu Trophy, 2016-17. After claiming a five-for in the first innings, captain Karan Kaila claimed nine wickets in the second to bowl his side to victory in the Elite Group final. While the skipper’s performance helped clinch the game in under three days, Himanshu Rana and N Chaudhary’s gritty half-centuries in the second innings helped tip the balance in Punjab’s favour.
Electing to bat first at the Dhruv Pandove Stadium in Patiala, Punjab were bowled out for 144 on the first day of the bowler dominated four-day match. After a 63-run opening stand between Prabjot Singh (24 off 64) and Shivluv Sabharwal (38 off 69) the line-up crumbled. The openers were sent back in successive overs by Bhimrao and A Vinaykumar.
The Kaila-led attack then ran through the Andhra lineup. They had left Andhra reeling at 91 for eight at stumps on the first day. They returned the next day to skittle Andhra out for 117.
Kaila picked five for 27 while Vinay Choudhary took four for 23 to bowl Punjab to a 27-run first innings lead. The Punjab batsmen then put up a better performance in their second innings to build on the lead and set Andhra a stiff 253-run target. Although Prabjot was sent back for naught in the first over, the middle-order stitched useful stands to build the innings.
Middle-order bat Rana was the mainstay of the lineup with a 141-ball 67 which helped his side gain an upper-hand. While Rana's stoic knock kept the innings in fray, N Chaudhary's 67-ball 51 and Choudhary's 41-ball 35 helped Punjab put the team in a commanding position. While the Punjab batsmen put up a determined performance, Vinaykumar finished the innings with six for 97 while Bhimrao picked three for 33.
Kaila claimed three wickets early and left Andhra reeling at 31 for three at stumps on the second day. The Punjab skipper then continued to wreck the Andhra lineup on the penultimate day. While M Pranith (43 off 56) strove to keep the Andhra innings afloat wickets fell at regular intervals. Lower down the order, Bhimrao too made 50-ball 28 in a effort to extend the innings until he was sent back by the Punjab captain.
Choudhary picked the sole wicket of Siva Charan Singh while Kaila finished with nine for 80 to take his match tally to 14 wickets.
In the Plate group, Karnataka beat Uttar Pradesh by 117 runs to emerge winners for the third place. The victory will elevate Karnataka U-23’s to the elite group in the next season (2017-18). Lifted by Bharath KN's 70-ball 60-run knock, Karnataka posted 228 in the first innings. UP's Vishal Choudhary claimed six for 63 in the innings.
While Shubham Agarwal then made a gritty 82-ball 43 to keep the UP lineup afloat, Suchith J (4/26) and Pradeep T (5/27) bowled the side out for a mere 127.
Adding to the 101-run lead, Karnataka posted 192 runs before being bowled out in the second innings. Opener Nischal D top-scored a 102-ball 51, while the middle-order made useful double-digit contributions to set UP a stiff 294-run target. Suchith then claimed six for 74 to bowl UP out for 176 and take his team to a comprehensive win.