Vijay Hazare quarterfinals: Rahul powers Karnataka to semifinals

Karnataka made short work of Pondicherry in their Vijay Hazare Trophy quarterfinal, cruising to an eight-wicket win at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium here on Sunday.

After restricting Pondicherry to 207, Karnataka hardly broke sweat in the chase. K.L. Rahul (90b, 112b, 8×4, 1×6), Devdutt Padikkal (50, 54b, 5×4, 1×6) and Rohan Kadam (50 n.o., 68b, 3×4) got among the runs, taking Karnataka to victory with nine overs to spare.

Nervous start

Rahul started nervously, nearly edging one from Vinay Kumar onto his stumps. Rahul struggled through the early blues, before opening up with some crisp drives. However, his exciting knock ended when an attempted sweep off left-arm spinner Sagar Udeshi went awry.

Padikkal, meanwhile, was in great nick. The stylish left-hander got into the groove with flowing front-foot cover drives, and delighted with the unorthodox one-legged ‘Nataraja’ pulls.

But, Padikkal gave his wicket away, cutting a short ball from Sagar to Paras Dogra at point. The 98-run opening stand put Karnataka in the driver’s seat.

Earlier, a top-order collapse pushed Pondicherry into a deep hole.

Opener Arun Karthik was sent back in the second over, castled by pacer Prasidh Krishna, bringing Vinay in. The former Karnataka captain took on the pinch-hitter role, but his wild heaves completely missed the mark.

A frustrated Vinay soon skied a length ball from A. Mithun — formerly his trusted new-ball partner — to square-leg, where Shreyas Gopal completed a good catch.

Much depended on Paras Dogra, but when the experienced batsman was prised out by spinner Praveen Dubey, Pondicherry was looking down the barrel at 41 for six.

Sagar Trivedi (54, 60b, 5×4, 2×6) and Vikneshwaran Marimuthu (58, 98b, 3×4, 2×6) steadied the ship with a 76-run partnership. After Trivedi returned to the hut, Marimuthu carried on the fight with Fabid Ahmed (37, 40b, 2×6).

The late-order contributions pushed Pondicherry past the 200 mark, but it wasn’t enough to stop Karnataka from sealing a semifinal berth. Prasidh, meanwhile, suffered a side strain and bowled only two overs.

arnataka sprang a surprise by dropping regular wicketkeeper B.R. Sharath. Rahul kept wickets instead, and gave a good account of himself with three good catches.

The winner of the Mumbai-Chhattisgarh last-eight clash will take on Karnataka in the semifinal.

The scores: Pondicherry 207/9 in 50 overs (V. Mariumuthu 58, Sagar Trivedi 54, Pravin Kumar Dubey 3/44) lost to Karnataka 213/2 in 41 overs (K.L. Rahul 90, Devdutt Padikkal 50, Rohan Kadam 50 n.o.).


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