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Karnataka remains a step ahead


16th December 2017
Going through the statistics it seemed apparent that both Karnataka and Vidarbha will not spare a single inch when they lock horn in the Ranji Trophy second semi-final at Eden Gardens from tomorrow.
Karnataka showed imperious form the very first match. While, Mayank Agarwal and R.Samarth provided solid start with triple-digit opening partnership, the middle-order showed their strength as well. Mayank Agarwal is enjoying a record-breaking season, smashing 1142 runs in 7 matches (10 innings) with the highest of 304. On the other hand Samarth showcased sublime form by hitting three tonnes. However, lower middle-order’s splendid form contributed hugely to the 2014-15 edition champions’ tremendous form. K. Gowtham scored 227 runs and Shreyas Gopal smashed 350 runs with an exalted 150 against Mumbai which swung the course of the match to their favour. Spinner duo Gowtham and Gopal hunted 55 wickets in pair. With the pacers Vinay Kumar (22 wickets) almost single-handedly drowned Mumbai, while A. Mithun scalped 18 wickets. After missing out quarter-final, in-form Stuart Binny and Dega Nischal are likely to return to the squad. Indian star K.L. Rahul is also available for the encounter. The solitary problem is Karun Nair has been suffering a low run stint in last few matches.
Skipper Vinay Kumar looked confident. He remarked, “ We have had a good season so far and except for slipups in one or two matches we have performed really well and the team is in good shape and has been consistent so far. Even in the last season we lagged behind by few points and not from top to the bottom.''
''We are a good bowling side as we have the experience to bowl in almost all types of wickets and important is that we all back each other. With that in mind I feel that the team has a slighter edge over our counterpart. Having said that we would not like to underestimate the opponents as they are here to give us a good fight and they have been pretty good so far.''
When asked about the wickets, Vinary Kumar said, “ Eden Gardens' wicket is any day a fast bowlers delight as the ball seams well and provides a good carry and it is pretty much the same at the moment but it would be too early to opine and is only possible after they cut through the grass. We hope that it would help our batsmen as well.''
On the other hand, Vidarbha dominated their opponents. Skipper Faiz Fazal and Sanjay Ramaswamy are in a purple touch by scoring 831 runs and 696 runs respectively. The middle order and lower-middle order chipped in with the runs. A V Wankhade smashed a brilliant 107 against Kerala. With the bowlers-Akashya Wakhare, Aditya Sarwate and Rajneesh Gurbani scalped 29,25 and 19 wickets each. While, inclusion of Umesh Yadav will certainly add firepower to the team.



CAB MEDIA DESK
Ayan Das