Mumbai: Karnataka successfully defended their Ranji Trophy title in emphatic style as they trounced Tamil Nadu by an innings and 217 runs in the final at the Wankhede Stadium here on Thursday.
Tottering at 113 for three overnight in their second innings after conceding a 628-run first innings lead, Tamil Nadu were bowled out for 411 runs to add to their first innings score of 134.
Baba Aparajith (68) and Vijay Shankar (103) put up a brave fight. After Aparajith’s departure with the scoreboard reading 191/4, it was veteran wicketkeeper-batsman Dinesh Karthik who tried steadying the sinking Tamil Nadu ship.
Right-hander Karthik notched up a 115-run partnership for the fifth wicket with Shankar and was fluent in his stroke-making.
But then it was Karnataka skipper Vinay Kumar (2/43) who broke the partnership getting rid of Shankar holding onto a return catch.
Karthik continued in his merry ways, but the batters around him fell prey to Shreyas Gopal’s (4/126) spin and Sreenath Aravind’s (2/52) movement and pace.
Earlier in the match, Karnataka had put on a monumental total of 762 runs in their first innings. Right-hand middle-order batsman Karun Nair scored 328 — the highest in a Ranji Trophy final in the 92-year history of the country’s premier domestic cricket tournament.
Nair, 23, went past Baroda batsman Gul Mohammad’s 319 made against Holkar in the 1946-47 season final. Nair got good support from India Test Opener Lokesh Rahul (188) and the duo forged a 384-run stand for the sixth wicket.
Skipper R. Vinay Kumar also scored a ton (105) to ensure they amassed a monumental total of 762 all out. Vinay became the first captain to pick up a five-wicket haul and score a century in a Ranji final. He was only the second cricketer to achieve the feat after Vijay Hazare’s heroics in 1946-47 final.
After conceding the mammoth lead, Tamil Nadu went down by an innings and 217 runs, allowing Karnataka to lay their hands on their second consecutive and eighth Ranji Trophy title.
“It is a big moment for us. I would like to thank all the players, they have worked hard to achieve this milestone. I am very happy with my own performance,” skipper Vinay said at the post-match presentation ceremony.
“Ultimately, winning the Ranji Trophy is important. As I said last year, we have a good bunch of players. If we keep performing we will dominate the Indian domestic circuit. Next we will play the Irani Trophy and will try to win that.”
Losing captain Abhinav Mukund said: “We really did well in the first day. We could have batted better, but its history now. Rahul and Karun Nair took the game away from us.”
Mukund, however, was satisfied with the performance throughout the season.
“It has been a great season. After a poor start we have made to the finals. We will go back to the drawing board. We have competed well, I made around 800 runs. I could have carried on, but we ran into a good side.”
Brief scores: Tamil Nadu 134 all out, 411 all out (Dinesh Karthik 120, Vijay Shankar 103; Shreyas Gopal 4/126; Vinay Kumar 2/43)) lose to Karnataka 762 all out. Karnataka win by an innings and 217 runs.