Karnataka on even stage: vs Mumbai Day 1 Ranji Trophy league 2011
The first day of the Karnataka-Mumbai Ranji Trophy encounter saw highs for Karnataka in the mid session but a fair score at stumps. Manish Pandey dazzled with an unbeaten century as he retired due to cramps.
Only one of the RCB boys got a chance to partake in the action on the first day of the Ranji Trophy Mumbai-Karnataka match at the Cricket Club of Indian in Mumbai – CM Gautham who unfortunately was given out leg before to left arm spinner Iqbal Abdullah. Earlier, after Karnataka lost their first two wickets sooner than they would have wished, Robin Uthappa inclusive, Manish Pandey and G Satish took the score to 200-plus, a partnership of 150 for the third wicket! Satish’s dismissal sparked a min collapse before the day ended for the Karnataka side at a respectable 316 for 5.
Viewing the history of matches between these two teams in Ranji Trophy and also the fierce rivalry of the 1990s, the encounter is building up to that of a ‘virtual semi-final’; It has been taken for granted that these two teams will end up in the knockouts again because of the sterling performances they have put up in the matches so far; therefore, that future match, if and when they meet again, can be billed as the ‘virtual’ final even if it is not the actual one! But cricket is a funny game and both sides will be careful not to go by those assumptions, but instead to grind away and play winning cricket.
Karnataka’s day started well at 9:00 am because they won the toss and promptly decided to bat, the match starting at 9:30. After some good strokes from the openers KB Pawan and Robin Uthappa, the former departed caught in the slips. A little later, Uthappa fell after uncharacteristically edging down the legside to the wicket-keeper who held a good low catch.
Then followed the mammoth 150 run partnership between Pandey and Satish before the former was forced to retire with cramps after posting a convincing century. Amit Verma replaced him and provided the ideal foil to his partners, the same role Satish had performed with distinction while Pandey pounded the bowlers selectively.
Satish however, tried to pull a short and seemingly loose ball from Iqbal Abdullah that he perceived himself to be in control of. However, his hit to mid wicket was uppish, probably partially miscued and pouched. As is the case in cricket, two more wickets were to fall fairly quickly, a huge contrast to the high total buildup expected when Pandey and Satish had been at the crease.
CM Gautham was adjudged lbw to left-arm spinner Abdullah as he attempted to play on the backfoot. A few overs earlier, Karnataka had had their hearts in their mouth as the Mumbai team had appealed for an lbw when Gautham had tried to sweep the same bowler away. Gautham had astutely set about upsetting the field which was set to exploit the line the bowler was bowling.
Then it was the turn of Stuart Binny to experience disappointment when he too was adjudged leg-before to Abdullah, this time stretching fully forward. At this stage, Karnataka were five wickets down but Vinay Kumar batted with authority, looking like a full fledged batsman, while left-handed Amit Verma anchored the innings but allowing himself the luxury of a few shots where they were warranted.
Verma was spilled once, off the bowling of Abhishek Nayar as the Mumbai wicketkeeper Gurav attempted to dive and catch a ball headed straight to first slip, Wasim Jaffer. To the keeper’s credit it must be said however, that he had anticipated the ball early and this gave him a good position to dive a short distance. Unfortunately, there was an error of either an excessive dive or a misjudgment of the height. Karnataka heaved a sigh of relief and their fans would at least have felt this had ‘undone’ one of the leg-before dismissals inflicted on them, perhaps felt unlucky by some.
Among the other highlights of the day were Ajit Agarkar chipping away steadily with his model action and trying to induce the edge and at other times, trying to extract reverse swing. Iqbal Abdullah has been effective but it remains to be seen if the late-middle order of Karnataka will be daunted.