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Vijay Hazare Trophy 2018: Karnataka make final after Maharashtra fold for 160

960   //    24 Feb 2018, 18:04 IST

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Mayank Agarwal's sixth score of eighty or more guided Karnataka to the final of the Vijay Hazare Trophy

Karnataka had a total as small as 161 to chase against Maharashtra in the semi-final of the Vijay Hazare Trophy, cruising to a nine-wicket win with more than nineteen overs to spare at the Feroz Shah Kotla stadium in Delhi. Batting first after winning the toss, the only decent contributions from Maharashtra came from Shrikant Mundhe, who top scored with 50, and Naushad Shaikh, with 42. The second wicket stand of 57 between Mundhe and captain Rahul Tripathi put Maharashtra on track after pacer Prasidh Krishna had got rid of opener Ruturaj Gaikwad in the first over.

Another 36 for the third wicket between Mundhe and Ankit Bawne took them to 95/2, after which the former's dismissal off Ronit More paved the way for a collapse, with Maharashtra getting bowled out for 160. Off-spinner Krishnappa Gowtham bagged 3/26 while Krishna ended with 2/26 with Shaikh the last man to fall to him.

The chase saw Karnataka opener Mayank Agarwal continuing his blistering run of form, smashing 8 fours and a six in a knock of 81 off 86 balls – his sixth score of eighty or more in seven innings this tournament – and taking his side within touching distance of victory. Along with his opening partner and captain Karun Nair, Agarwal put on a stand of 155 for the first wicket. Nair remained unbeaten on 70 from 90 deliveries with ten fours, also hitting the winning runs in the reply.

Karnataka will now face the winners of the other semifinal between Andhra and Saurashtra, which would take place tomorrow.

Brief Scores: Karnataka 164/1 in 30.3 overs (Agarwal 81, Nair 70*; Bachhav 1/32) beat Maharashtra 160 in 44.3 overs (Mundhe 50; Gowtham 3/26, Krishna 2/26) by 9 wickets

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A childhood cricket enthusiast, my earliest cricket memory goes back to the 2003 World Cup, when I was 7. With a hobby of cricket commentary and writing from my early days, I earned an invitation for employment by aged only 20, and have also had the opportunity to interact with the great analyst Harsha Bhogle.
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