Shah’s unbeaten half century gives Baroda slender lead

Vadodara: Riding on skipper Pinal Shah’s valiant half century, Baroda took a slender lead of 26 runs even as 18 wickets fell on the opening day of their Ranji Trophy Super League semi-final against Karnataka here on Monday.

After Murtuja Vahora and Bhargav Bhatt combined to bowl out Karnataka for a paltry 107, Baroda finished the day at 133 for the loss of eight wickets at the Reliance Ground here.

Shah (72 off 97 balls) was at the crease while giving him company was Ajitesh Argal who was yet to open his account when stumps were drawn for the day.

Despite bundling out the visitors for a paltry total, Baroda batsmen looked susceptible when their turn to bat came on a pitch that had something for the bowlers.

After he had Connor Williams caught behind, Karnataka skipper Vinay Kumar brought in Sunil Joshi and had the veteran slow left-armer bowl in tandem with the young Abhimanyu Mithun.

Kumar’s ploy worked well as Joshi picked up four wickets while Mithun chipped in with two.

Joshi opened his account by trapping Kedar Devdhar, and then had Swapnil Singh caught behind by Muralidharen Gautam. The veteran also got the wickets of opener Jaykishan Kolsawala and Sankalp Vohra. When Mithun dismissed Ambati Rayudu Baroda were staring down the barrel.

Coming in at the fall of Rayudu’s wicket and with his team reeling at 44 for the loss of five wickets, Shah showed great temperament and was a picture of calm during his 97-minute stay at the wicket.

Shah started the rescue operation by putting on 37 runs for the sixth wicket and then teamed up with Aditya Waghmode to add another 31 runs for seventh wicket, two partnerships that helped the hosts crawl ahead.

The Baroda skipper hit five boundaries and a six during his unbeaten knock.

Barring Shah and Kolsawala (18 off 30 balls), none of the Baroda batsmen could manage double figures.

Opting to bat first, Karnataka got off to a disastrous start losing five wickets with just 25 runs on the board. They could never recover from those early blows and were eventually bowled out for total which was far from fighting even on a pitch that assisted the bowlers.

Stuart Binny scored 27 while Gautam managed 28 for the visitors, and that they managed to cross the three-figure mark was largely due to the duo’s 42-run stand for the sixth wicket.

Brief score:

Karnataka 1st innings: 107 all out (Murtuja Vahora 5/34, Bhargav Bhatt 3/33).

Baroda 1st innings: 133/8 (Pinal Shah 72*; Sunil Joshi 4/46).


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