Defending champions of the Vijay Hazare Trophy, Karnataka managed to defend their title in a one-sided clash in Ahmedabad at the Sardar Patel Stadium against Punjab with a 156-run win. Expecting dew later on, Punjab captain Harbhajan Singh decided to bowl first on a flat track. The openers’ Mayank Agarwal and Robin Uthappa fully used the conditions are milked the bowlers as they formed a formidable partnership with a solid foundation.
Their pair paced their innings with regular singles to keep the scorecard ticking and dispatched the ball to the fence at regular intervals to maintain a healthy run-rate. By the end of 10 overs, they raced to 66 and kept the momentum going. Uthappa was the first to reach his fifty and unleashed himself on the bowlers while Agarwal soon followed the senior batsman. However, while on 87, Uthappa pulled a Baltej Singh’s delivery but was caught by Manan Vohra at short mid-wicket bringing an end to 162 run opening stand.
Agarwal along with Karun Nair kept the momentum going. Soon they brought up the team’s 200-run mark and Agarwal brought up his century. But after adding 25 runs to his ton, the over after drinks break, Agarwal was caught at square-leg by Siddarth Kaul off Sandeep Sharma which brought an end of their stand of 85.
However, inform Manish Pandey joined Nair in the middle and kept the Karnataka score moving on. The pair put together 87 for the third wicket until Amitoze ended the partnership by dismissing Pandey for 40. By then, Karnataka were in commanding position with 334 runs on the board. Nair in the following over departed taking the aerial route to Baltej and was caught by Taruwar Kohli for 86, adding 52 runs after been dropped by Yuvraj at 34. The next batsmen tried to swing their bats and ended their short stay. However, Karnataka managed to end at 359 for 7.
In process of defending 360 to defend the title, Vinay Kumar gave his side their first breakthrough with the wicket of Vohra in the third over. But Mandeep Singh who joined Amitoze in the middle put an effort to chase the mountain. But with the partnership on 82 came to a sad end when the opener was run out for 46.
A few overs later, Sreenath Aravind sent back Yuvraj Singh who looked to pull was caught by Agarwal giving Karnataka an important breakthrough. Soon, Gurkeerat Singh Mann was trapped lbw by Binny while Taruwar Kohli was run out five runs later. With the team on 148/5, Gitansh Khera then joined Mandeep who was fighting from one end to keep the team in the game. But eight runs later the middle-order batsman was castled by Binny for 76.
With the team tottering at 156/6, Harbhajan Singh came out to the middle but soon returned after getting out leg-before to Suchith. Kaul was the next to be removed five overs later, bowled by Mithun as Karnataka inched towards a victory. And off the last ball of the over the pacer disrupted Khera’s stumps who got out for 14. In his next over, Mithun sent back Sandeep to warp-up the Punjab innings in 38.2 overs for 202 and finished with three wickets.
Karnataka: 359 for 7 in 50 overs (Mayank Agarwal 125, Robin Uthappa 87, Karun Nair 86; Baltej Singh 3/59) beat Punjab 203 all out in 38.2 overs (Mandeep Singh 76, Amitoze Singh 46; Mithun 3/37) by 156 runs