Barely a week after winning the coveted Ranji Trophy, Vinay Kumar and his men added another trophy to their kitty- the Irani Cup. A wonderful performance from Varun Aaron was overshadowed by Manish Pandey. The gritty Karnataka batsman scored an impressive unbeaten knock of 123 in the second innings.
This season, Vinay Kumar and his men, have garnered a substantial amount of glory. The 246 run win witnesses Karnataka pick up the Irani Cup and the Ranji Trophy twice in a row.
Day 1: Varun Aaron wrecks Karnataka
The Irani Cup is the best way to get back into the good books of the national selectors. Sandip Patil, Saba Karim, Roger Binny and Vikram Rathore- all chief national selectors were present. Having fallen out of favour with the wise men following a dismal tour of Australia, Varun Aaron was keen to make amends. This time, however, Aaron’s raw pace came to the fore on a green top at the M.Chinnaswamy Stadium. After removing the dangerous Robin Uthappa (10) and R Samarth (20), a ripper of a delivery removed Manish Pandey for 3. Karnataka found themselves three wickets down going into lunch.
Karun Nair and Abhishek Reddy prevent collapse
Triple centurion in the Ranji Trophy final Karun Nair and Abhishek Reddy scored brisk half centuries, thus preventing a collapse. Stuttering at 107-4 after the fall of Mayank Agarwal on 68, Abhishek Reddy (54) and Karun Nair (59) added 113 for the fifth wicket, saving Karnataka from the blushes. Abhishek Reddy in particular, caught the eyes of the selectors with his temperament on debut.
The rest of the Karnataka batting line-up failed to make any significant contribution as the hosts were bowled out for 244. Unmukt Chand was the only wicket to fall on day 1 for the Rest Of India.
Day 2: Kedar Jadhav rises to the occasion
While R Vinay Kumar, Abhimanyu Mithun and Shreyas Gopal wrecked havoc, picking up three wickets apiece, Kedar Jadhav stepped up with a brilliant performance. The Maharashtra batsman showcased his entire repertoire of strokes in his innings of 78. Middle order batsman Jayant Yadav played second fiddle and was a perfect foil with a well made 26.
Abhimanyu Mithun was the pick of the bowlers by a country mile with figures of 3/46. The Rest Of India finished with 264 and a useful lead of 20 runs.
Day 3: Manish Pandey sizzles with the bat; Shardul Thakur picks up a five-for
Despite his exploits in the IPL, Manish Pandey was forgotten for the most part of the Ranji Trophy. However, this time, he underlined his talent and credentials as day three was the Manish Pandey show. His immaculate pull shots and fantastic cover drives saw the 26 year-old remain unbeaten on an impressive 123. Karnataka finished on a massive 422, setting a mammoth target of 403 for the opposition.
Mumbai’s premier pacer Shardul Thakur was the shining light for Manoj Tiwary’s men as he picked up five wickets conceding 86 runs.
Day 4: Shreyas Gopal completes comprehensive win
Day 4, as it has been for most part of this season, was a formality for the defending champions. Kedar Jadhav once again came good with the bat as he scored a defiant 56. However, after lunch break, Shreyas Gopal and Vinay Kumar went for the kill as Manoj Tiwary and his men were bowled out for a miserly 156.
All credit goes to the boys. Dedication and desire [keys to Karnataka’s success]. Fourth innings will be difficult here, the cracks got wider. We had the bowling attack. We knew 300-plus runs would be difficult for them. We need to ask our manager [responding to where the party would take place] . I want to thank the crowd and the ground staff.- R. Vinay Kumar
I thought if we had bowled them out for less than 250, we could have chased it down. In the batting department, we did not click as a unit. The Karnataka bowlers bowled really well. We backed our boys to do well but we did not have luck. Full credit to them. Good luck to them. Aaron bowled brilliantly in the first innings, Shardul [Thakur] and Pragyan [Ojha] also bowled well. There were a lot of ball changes. It needs to be seen. Apart from that, the bowlers did the job.- Manoj Tiway
Karnataka 244: Mayank Agarwal 68, Varun Aaron 6/63
Rest Of India 264: Kedar Jadhav 78, Abhimanyu Mithun 3/46
Karnataka 422: Manish Pandey 123*, Shardul Thakur 5/86
Rest Of India 156: Kedar Jadhav 56, Shreyas Gopal 4/39