BENGALURU: The season has not started well for Karnataka, one of the most consistent and impressive sides in domestic cricket in recent times. Defending champions in Vijay Hazare Trophy, their hopes of advancing to the quarterfinals of the one-day championship evaporated on Thursday, as rain forced them to share points with Railways.
As per new rules, the top five teams from Elite Groups A and B make it to the quarterfinals. Karnataka are nowhere in the picture. Even if they win their last two matches, they will reach 16 points. The team placed sixth (Andhra) has 18 points already.Weather played a part in Karnataka’s poor run. The rain gods made their presence felt during comparatively easier matches against Goa (abandoned) and Railways, which they were expected to win. However, one cannot blame weather alone.
Although no senior player or coach was available for comment, it was there for all to see that Karnataka failed with both bat and ball despite possessing quality players. Mayank Agarwal scored 112 runs in three matches, Ravikumar Samarth 160 in five, Karun Nair 72 in three and Pavan Deshpande 50 in three. Karnataka scored the least number of runs (736) in their group.
The pacers were below par, with both Vinay Kumar and Abhimanyu Mithun scalping five wickets each in four matches. Promising youngster Prasidh Krishna was off-colour, taking three wickets in three games. Shreyas Gopal took three in four. K Gowtham was their best bowler with seven from four. They took all 10 wickets in a match only once, against Vidarbha.
What makes it even more disappointing is some of the Karnataka players looked in good form ahead of the competition, playing for India A. They failed while representing the state.Karnataka were also not helped with the unavailability of players like Mayank, Nair and Krishna as they had to leave the competition midway, to represent Board President’s XI. This is a perfect wake-up call. It is primarily with the same bunch of players that Karnataka emerged victorious last season in Vijay Hazare and reached the semifinals of Ranji Trophy. Considering the fact that there is quality in the squad, it’s perhaps a question of getting the confidence back. The two remaining matches in Vijay Hazare are a good chance to finish on a positive note and regroup ahead of the more gruelling Ranji season.
Elite Group A
In Bengaluru: Baroda 153 in 41.2 ovs vs Himachal Pradesh 41/1 in 11.3 ovs. No result because of rain.
Punjab 359/4 in 50 ovs vs Goa 46/2 in 10 ovs. No result because of rain.
Karnataka 229/5 in 42.3 ovs vs Railways. No result because of rain.
Elite Group B
In New Delhi: Kerala 228 in 50 ovs bt Uttar Pradesh 227 in 49.5 ovs. Odisha 197 in 49.2 ovs bt Saurashtra 145 in 38.4 ovs.
In Vadodara: Arunachal 95 in 34.1 ovs lost to Puducherry 100/3 in 18.2 ov.
Matches today (Chennai)
At SRMC: Assam vs Services
At MAC: Bengal vs Haryana
At TI-Cycles: Jharkhand vs Tripura