by Amol Karhadkar, ESPNcricinfo
Seventy minutes, 14.1 overs. That’s all it took for Karnataka to wrap up the Mumbai tail and take one step closer to defending their Ranji Trophy title.
Mumbai started the penultimate day of the semi-final at 277 for 6, 168 runs behind the target of 445. Their best hope of an outside chance to chase down the target was for one of the bowlers to bat with Siddhesh Lad, the specialist overnight batsman. However, Abhimanyu Mithun, S Aravind and Shreyas Gopal picked a wicket each to complete a convincing 112-run victory, their second successive win against Mumbai at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium.
Lad, who resumed batting on 41, took the initiative on the fourth morning while Balwinder Singh Sandhu tried to occupy one end of the crease. Sandhu, however, was adjudged leg before off Mithun following a doubtful decision. The fuller, incoming delivery had taken a thick edge off his bat on to the pads, but the umpire Vineet Kulkarni ruled in favour of the bowler. The wicket was Mithun’s fourth of the innings
After Shardul Thakur survived the initial burst, captain Vinay Kumar brought Shreyas Gopal in his place. The legspinner struck with his second ball, getting an edge off Thakur’s willow straight into Vinay’s palms at slip.
Lad, who stretched his innings to 74, was left with too much to do and the end came when Aravind bowled a gem to extract an edge off his bat soon after the drinks break. With the target being completely out of reach, Mumbai opted not to play allrounder Abhishek Nayar, who had struggled while batting out 12 overs on the third evening. Nayar had suffered a concussive head injury on the first day. The defending champions will now get an extra rest day before heading to Mumbai for the final.