Bengaluru: Captain Manish Pandey and Karun Nair cracked brilliant half centuries as Karnataka registered a comprehensive six-wicket win over Rajasthan to storm into the semifinals of Ranji Trophy here on Friday. Pandey (87) and Nair (61) shared an unbeaten 129-run partnership for the fifth wicket in just 24.5 overs on the fourth and final day to help Karnataka chase down a tricky 184-run victory target.
Karnataka will now meet either Saurashtra or Uttar Pardesh in the semifinals. Rajasthan had scored 224 in their first innings, riding on fifties by skipper Mahipal Lomrov (50) and Rajesh Bishnoi (79). In reply, Karnataka put on 263 all out before returning to bundle out Rajasthan for 222 in their second innings, thus setting themselves a 184-run target.
Karnataka were 45 for 3 in 18 overs at stumps after day 3.
Starting the final day needing 139 runs to win with seven wickets in hand, the hosts lost nightwatchman Ronit More early in the morning which forced Pandey to walk into the middle. Pandey spent some time on the wicket, before taking on the formidable Rajasthan bowling lineup.
He unleashed an array of delightful shots, cobbling up a match-winning knock in 75 balls, which was embellished with 14 boundaries and two sixes. Pandey chased down the remaining 14 runs in five balls as Karnataka players started to celebrate the fantastic win in the dressing room.
Nair gave an able support to Pandey, who remained unbeaten on 61, a knock decorated with six boundaries off 129 balls.
Though Pandey hogged the limelight on fourth day, Vinay Kumar’s unbeaten 83 in first innings was an equally important innings as it forced Rajasthan to concede lead for first time this season. Vinay also bagged two wickets in Rajasthan’s first innings to bag the Man of the Match.
Karnataka first and second innings: 263 all out in 87.4 overs and 185 for 4 in 47.5 overs (Manish Pandey 87 not out, Karun Nair 61 not out (Aniket Choudhary 2/32) Rajasthan first and second innings: 224 in 77.1 overs and 222 all out in 67.2 overs (Robin Bist 44, Mahipal Lomror 42; Krishnappa Gowtham 4/54, Shreyas Gopal 3/52, Abimanyu Mithun 2/26).