Mayank Agarwal scored the only century of the match. V Koushik picked up seven wickets across two innings. But a Ranji Trophy match Karnataka would have expected to win after setting up a chase of 110 went totally pear-shaped for them, as Gujarat reduced them from 50 for no loss to 103 all out on a pitch where the ball turned and bounced viciously, left-arm spinner Siddharth Desai returning 7 for 42 in a six-run win.
Karnataka started the final innings strongly in Ahmedabad, with Agarwal and Devdutt Padikkal, the openers, scoring quickly. Desai had opened the bowling alongside medium pacer Chintan Gaja, but the task looked beyond them as Agarwal and Padikkal raced away. Agarwal scored 19 in 29 balls, with four fours, and Padikkal was in a hurry, hitting 31 from 29 balls with four fours and a six.
But Desai broke through with Agarwal’s wicket in the tenth over, and then got rid of Padikkal and Nikin Jose in his next over. Suddenly, Karnataka were 56 for 3. Time wasn’t the issue, and with the likes of Manish Pandey, R Samarth – who had opened in the first innings – and Shubhang Hegde to come, it wasn’t a worrying situation yet.
Desai was on a roll, though. Pandey fell for a duck to become Desai’s fourth victim, and he added Sujay Sateri and Vijaykumar Vyshak to his tally by the 18th over of the innings, leaving Karnataka tottering at 74 for 6.
Gujarat captain Gaja had removed himself from the attack after bowling just two overs, bringing Rinkesh Vaghela, the offspinner, and Vaghela got into the act around this stage, sending back Samarth and Hegde, who had scored 27 in 37 balls. Desai then got rid of Rohit Kumar – the third duck in the innings – to complete his haul, before Vaghela got his third, Prasidh Krishna, in the 27th over to finish off the game.
The day had started well for Karnataka, as had most of the match till they got to 50 for no loss in their second innings. Gujarat, overnight on 171 for 7 – after having conceded a 110-run first-innings lead – were bowled out in 12.2 overs of action, adding 48 runs along the way. Those were critical in the end analysis.
The win lifted Gujarat to the top of the Elite Group C table, with two wins in two games giving them 12 points.