Friday, December 8, 2017

Ranji Trophy: Vinay Kumar's hattrick and 6/34 stuns Mumbai on Day 1

Ranji trophy quarters
Less than a month ago, Baroda's two young pacers — Atit Sheth and Lukman Meriwala — bowled out Mumbai for a paltry 171 in the city's historic 500th Ranji Trophy match at the Wankhede Stadium. It looks like the Aditya Tare-led Mumbai side did not learn anything from that episode as the 41-time champions were bundled out again for just 173 against Karnataka in the first innings on Day One of the Ranji Trophy quarter-final at the Vidarbha Cricket Association (VCA) Stadium in Jamtha, yesterday. It could have been worse had Mumbai pacer Dhawal Kulkarni not played a crucial knock of 75. In response, Karnataka scored 115 for one at stumps. Earlier, Karnataka skipper R Vinay Kumar decided to bowl first after winning the toss and ensured his team got the early advantage.

6th Karnataka skipper Vinay Kumar becomes the sixth player to take a hat-trick in the Ranji Trophy knockout stage
6th Karnataka skipper Vinay Kumar becomes the sixth player to take a hat-trick in the Ranji Trophy knockout stage

Kumar reaches match 'ton'
Kumar, 33, made his 100th appearance for Karnataka memorable after picking up a hat-trick across the first and third over of the innings. The first to go was in-form Prithvi Shaw in the last ball of the first over. Prithvi looked to punch the ball through the covers, but ended up edging it to Karun Nair at first slip. In his next over, Kumar bowled a similar delivery that dismissed Prithvi, and this time as well, another in-form batsman —Jay Bista — fell prey to the short of a length, away delivery. He ended up edging it again to Nair, who this time made no mistake to take a sharp one-handed catch to his left at first slip. It was a surprise to see fast-bowler Akash Parkar promoted to No. 4, ahead of Suryakumar Yadav and skipper Aditya Tare when Mumbai were struggling at seven for two. Kumar's hat-trick ball was a lethal inswinger that trapped Parkar leg before for a duck. Mumbai were seven for three in just the third over.

Mumbai were hoping for another show from crisis man Siddhesh Lad, but Kumar struck again in his fifth over with a beautiful outswinger. Lad (8) got an unplayable delivery and edged it to wicketkeeper Chidhambaram Gautam. That brought an end to Kumar's first spell which read, 6-2-10-4. This was the best opportunity for Mumbai vice-captain Yadav to capitalise after scoring only one half-century this season, but he failed to shoulder the responsibility, scoring just 14. The dismissals of skipper Tare (4) and debutant Shivam Dubey (7) added to Mumbai's utter misery.

Daring Kulkarni
However, after being 90 for seven at lunch, Kulkarni started thinking differently. Even after comeback man Akhil Herwadkar departed for 32 during his 75-ball stay at the crease, Kulkarni was determined to lift Mumbai's score. He hit nine boundaries and two sixes for his 75 off 132 balls. Kumar claimed six for 34, while Arvind Sreenath took two for 45. Opening the innings for Karnataka, Mayank Agarwal scored another half-century. For Mumbai, debutant medium pacer Shivam Dubey got his first wicket off his very first ball when he disturbed Samarth's furniture.

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