Ranji Trophy: Centurion Nair helps Karnataka outclass Delhi
Karnataka registered their fifth outright win in this year's Ranji Trophy, after beating Assam by 8 wickets to finish at the top of the table at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium, Delhi.
Skipper R Vinay Kumar led his team from the front by claiming 4 Delhi wickets in the first innings after the hosts elected to bat first. He was ably supported by HS Sharath at the other end, who continued his purple patch and bagged 3 wickets. Delhi started with a Gautam Gambhir's half-century, but the rest of the batting line-up put up a disappointing show. Delhi were dismissed on 202.
Karnataka rode on young Karun Nair's patient hundred (105) after they lost opener Mayank Agarwal early on. Nair held on from one end, but wickets kept tumbling at the other. Karnataka were reduced to 73/4, until Stuart Binny's explosive knock of 88 that included 7 fours and 6 sixes restored his team's hopes. Ashish Nehra then got rid of both Binny and Nair, but not before Karnataka crossed the 200-run mark. The lower order contributed with a few runs, helping their side get a slender lead. Karnataka were all-out for 289.
Delhi came to bat trailing by 87 runs, and went on to put up 201 runs in their 2nd innings. Sharath (3/35) was once again instrumental in getting crucial breakthroughs, this time with much support from Ronit More and Shreyas Gopal, who claimed 3 wickets each.
Needing 114 runs to win, Karnataka responded with an unbeaten 68 from opener Agarwal, who struck 6 fours and 3 sixes in his knock. Nair and Samarth fell cheaply, but Manish Pandey hung on to deliver the winning runs on the final day, sealing an 8-wicket victory.
With 5 wins in 8 games and 38 points, Karnataka finish at the top of Group A.