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Karnataka set up semi-final clash with Punjab

Bangalore, Jan 11 (IANS) Karnataka cruised to an expected victory against Uttar Pradesh by 92 runs with more than a day to spare in the Ranji Trophy quarter-final match here Saturday to set up a Jan 18-22 semi-final clash with Punjab in Mohali.

Punjab had defeated Jammu and Kashmir by 100 runs in the other quarter-final at the Moti Bagh Stadium in Vadodara.

Set a target of 333, Uttar Pradesh, who resumed their chase at the overnight score of 55 for one, were never really in the hunt as they lost wickets at regular intervals and were all out for 240.

Leg spinner Shreyas Gopal, only 20 and playing just his third first class game, was the pick of the Karnataka bowlers as he came away with 5 for 59 with paceman Abhimanyu Mithun picking up 3 for 71 and skipper Vinay Kumar returning 2 for 72.

Having resumed at 55 for one, Uttar Pradesh’s slide began with a double strike that saw the exit of opener Tanmay Srivastava (44) and veteran Mohammed Kaif (0) in consecutive overs.

Thereafter, the Uttar Pradesh innings crumbled while Karnataka delivered the big blow when Mithun removed first innings hero Parvinder Singh (8) with a delivery that came back a long way to take the off-bail even as the batsman opted to leave the ball.

There was some resistance from the Uttar Pradesh middle order as Ekalavya Dwivedi (33) and Piyush Chawla (44) put on 70 runs for the eighth wicket.

However, the departure of Dwivedi, caught brilliantly at mid-wicket by Vinay Kumar off Mithun, virtually signalled the end as Gopal removed Amit Mishra and Chawla in quick succession.

It was left to Vinay Kumar to clean up the Uttar Pradesh innings, though not without some drama. The seamer clean bowled last man Rudra Pratap Singh and even as the celebrations began, umpire Rajesh Deshpande signalled a no-ball after checking with the third umpire. However, Vinay later sent Ankit Rajpoot’s stumps flying, and this time it was a legitimate delivery.

Brief scores: Karnataka 349 and 204 vs Uttar Pradesh 221/9 decl and 240 all out (Tanmay Srivastava 44, Eklavya Dwivedi 44, Piyush Chawla 44; Shreyas Gopal 5/59, R Vinay Kumar 2/72, Abhimanyu Mithun 3/71). Karnataka won by 92 runs.

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