India B sailed to a six-wicket win over Karnataka in the final to lift the Deodhar Trophy 2017-18. The Shreyas Iyer-led team restricted the Vijay Hazare Trophy champions to a modest 279 runs. While R Samarth posted a fighting century (107), the rest of the lineup failed to complement him ably to post a stiff total. The India B openers - Ruturaj Gaikwad and A Eswaran - then set the tone for the chase while Iyer and Manoj Tiwary helped overhaul the target with eight balls to spare.
With Gaikwad (58 off 48) leading the way, India B got off to a good start in the grand finale. The opener stitched an 84-run stand with Eswaran until R More forced an edge from the batsman through to the wicketkeeper. After 40 runs, Hanuma Vihari returned to the dressing room having pulled Shreyas Gopal towards mid-wicket where K Gowtham took the catch.
Tiwary, the experienced campaigner, who had hit a century in the previous encounter in the league phase, then joined Iyer in the middle in the crucial phase to keep the chase on course.
A few lapses in the field too had helped India B as the batsmen attacked the Karnataka bowlers and found the ropes at regular intervals. With the duo gleaning runs off the attack, the game tipped in India B’s favour. With the finish line in sight though, Iyer departed for 61. However, the 83-run stand had taken the team to 269 for four and put them in the driver’s seat. With K S Bharat, the all-rounder then took India B to the target.
Earlier, Karnataka lost early wickets after electing to bat. While Mayank Agarwal was run out backing up, an Umesh Yadav delivery took the inside edge of Nair’s bat and knocked back his stumps leaving the team on 33 for two. 25 runs later, S Ahmed drew and edge from Pavan Deshpande through to the wicketkeeper. While wickets fell at the other end, Samarth stoically held one end up. Stuart Binny was the next to be sent back; bowled by Ahmed.
With the Karnataka innings wobbling at 64 for four, CM Gautam joined hands with Samarth. The pair chipped away at the attack to revive the innings. Their stand for the fifth wicket was worth 132 runs until Gautam was dismissed, but it helped lift Karnataka to a respectable total. After the wicketkeeper-batsman departed edging Jayant Yadav, Shreyas Gopal joined the top-order bat in adding useful runs to the total. 63 runs later, Gopal was sent back by Umesh leaving the team on 260 for two.
Samarth, who hit a gritty century, was the next to return to the dressing room taking the aerial route and leaving his side on 271 for seven in the penultimate over. With a ball left in the innings, A Mithun was run out. Gowtham was unbeaten on 10 as Karnataka finished on 279 for eight.
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Man of the Match: R Samarth