Karnataka reclaimed the Vijay Hazare Trophy by comprehensively beating Saurashtra in the 2017-18 final at the Feroz Shah Kotla in New Delhi. Propelled by Mayank Agarwal’s 90, the Karun Nair-led team set the opponents a 254-run target after being asked to bat. While Cheteshwar Pujara then anchored the Saurashtra chase with a 94-run knock, K Gowtham (3/27) and M Prasidh (3/37) bowled the team out for 212 to claim a 41-run win.
Karnataka lost Nair in the second over as Shaurya Sanandiya uprooted the captain’s stumps while KL Rahul was run out in the next over with the team on five for two. However, in-form batsman Agarwal shaped the innings with R Samarth to set the platform for a solid total. The pair gleaned runs off the Saurashtra attack to add 136 runs for the third wicket. The opener was on song as he drove and pulled the bowlers to build the innings. He was ably supported by Samarth in shifting the momentum in Karnataka’s favour.
While Pavan Deshpande worked to hold one end up, Stuart Binny was the next to be sent back by Mankad 20 runs later. Shreyas Gopal then added a useful 41 runs to the tally before he was run out for 31. Kamalesh Makwana then claimed the last four wickets to wrap-up the Karnataka innings for 253.
Chasing a respectable target, Samarth Vyas edged Prasidh to Rahul behind the stumps and Dharmendrasinh, who promoted up the order was bowled in the next leaving Saurashtra on 15 for two. Cheteshwar Pujara then joined Avi Barot in the middle and the pair added 62 runs to the total in an effort to rebuild until the opener perished taking the aerial route off Stuart Binny.
Wickets continued to fall at the other end while Pujara held one end up in an effort to keep the innings in the fray. Ravindra Jadeja departed looking to hit big, only to be caught near mid-off off Pavan Deshpande. Without a run added to the scoreline, Mankad and Arpit Vasavada were sent back by Gowtham in the next leaving Saurashtra wobbling at 101 for six. Chirag Jani then joined Pujara in keeping the innings in the reckoning. The lower-order bat swung his bat to add 22 runs before he was run out. Sent back by his skipper while looking for a second, Jani couldn’t make it back to his crease in time.
Unadkat followed him back to the dressing room with the team on 135 for eight. Fighting an uphill battle, the skipper then attacked with gusto. He creamed the bowlers over the fence and beyond the ropes as he looked to close in on the target with the tail-enders. He had added 65 runs for the ninth wicket until being run out by his opposite number six runs short of a century. After 12 runs, Prasidh rattled Sanandia’s stumps to take Karnataka to victory.
Man of the Match: Mayank Agarwal
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