From staring at elimination in fading light to a place in the semifinals of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, Karnataka covered the distance riding on skipper Manish Pandey’s handiwork.
When Bengal needed a run to win off the last ball, Pandey’s throw found the stumps at the non-striker’s end to run out Akash Deep and forced the Super Over.
After Bengal ended at 5 for two off four deliveries of Super Over, Pandey took two runs off the first ball and then sent the next soaring into the stands behind mid-wicket as Karnataka avenged the loss suffered in the league nine days ago at Guwahati.
This thriller followed Tamil Nadu’s dominating chase of Kerala’s 181/4 with five wickets to spare.
At the Air Force ground, Vidarbha shut out Rajasthan with a nine-wicket drubbing and Hyderabad won by 30 runs against Gujarat.
But Karnataka-Bengal turned out to be the match of the competition. After Karnataka posted 160/5, built largely on Karun Nair’s unbeaten 29-ball 55 (4×4, 3×6), Bengal started with a 20-run over from Vijaykumar Vyshak and stayed on course till top-scorer Writtick Chatterjee (51, 40b, 2×4, 3×6) exited in the 15th over.
But Karnataka, back in the game after Suchith’s twin-wicket over, had to deal with Ritwik Chowdhury (36 not out, 18b, 4×4, 2×6). Needing 20 runs off the final over, from medium pacer Vidyadhar Patil, Ritwik hit 6, 6, 1 and Akash Deep hit a straight-driven boundary. Two runs, including an overthrow, followed and Bengal needed a run off the
last ball. But a throw from Pandey caught Akash Deep short of the non-striker’s end.
In Super Over, left-arm spinner K. C. Cariappa scalped Mohammad Kaif off the second ball and Sreevats Goswami was run out – for the second time in the match – off the fourth to set the stage for Pandey to put the finishing touches.
Earlier, opener Rohan Kunnummal (51, 43b, 5×4) laid the foundation and Vishnu Vinod ensured that Sanju Samson’s second-ball duck did not hurt Kerala by smashing an unbeaten 65 (26b, 2×4, 7×6) as 23, 19 and 20 runs came off the last three overs.
Undeterred, TN batters took up the responsibility and even without a half-century, finished the job in a business-like manner.
The early loss of N. Jagadeesan (7) brought Sai Sudarshan (46, 31b, 7×7) and Hari Nishanth (32, 22b, 2×4, 2×6) together. Skipper Vijay Shankar (33, 26b, 1×4, 2×6) and Sanjay Yadav (32, 22b, 1×4, 2×6) gave no respite to Kerala. Shahrukh Khan produced an unbeaten 9-ball 19 with two sixes before M. Mohammad hit the winning six off the first
ball he faced.
Saturday’s semifinals: Tamil Nadu-Hyderabad; Karnataka-Vidarbha.
Karnataka 160/5 in 20 overs (Karun Nair 55 n.o., Rohan Kadam 30) tied with Bengal 160/8 in 20 overs (Writtick Chatterjee 51, Ritwik Roy Chowdhury 36 n.o., M. B. Darshan 3/26).
Kerala 181/4 in 20 overs (Vishnu Vinod 65 n.o., Rohan Kunnummal 51, Sachin Baby 33) lost to Tamil Nadu 187/5 in 19.3 overs (Sai Sudarshan 46, Vijay Shankar 33, Hari Nishaanth 32, Sanjay Yadav 32, Unnikrishnan Manukrishnan 3/26).
Hyderabad 158/5 in 20 overs (Tilak Varma 75, Tanmay Agarwal 31) bt Gujarat 128/8 in 20 overs (Ripal Patel 35, T. Ravi Teja 3/27).
Rajasthan 84/8 in 20 overs (Kamlesh Nagarkoti 39 n.o.) lost to Vidarbha 87/1 in 14.5 overs (Atharva Taide 40 n.o.).