Manish Pandey first took a brilliant straight hit to take their match against Bengal into the Super Over and then hit a massive six to propel Karnataka into the semi-finals of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy on Thursday. It was one of the best thrillers of the national T20 match in recent times, with both the teams scoring 160-160 after 20 overs. Karnataka scored the required six runs off four Super Over balls. In a controversial decision, skipper Sudip Chatterjee sent an off-colour to Kaif Ahmed along with Ritwik Roy Chowdhury in the Super Over, which was shocking. Ahmed had scored 20 runs in barely 26 balls. Surprisingly, Rithvik, who again brought Bengal into contention after scoring 36 runs in 18 balls, did not take strike in the Super Over.
The quarter-final match was a testament to why Bengal cricketers are not sought after when it comes to franchises.
A big reason for this is the lack of cricketing sense and the way some batsmen throw wickets.
Barring Hrithik Chatterjee (51 off 40 balls), who tried to lead the innings, others paid the price for indiscriminate shot selection.
While Shreevats Goswami (22 off 10 balls) started with 20 runs in the first over with three fours and a six off Vijay Kumar Vaishak (0/41 in four overs), his opening partner Abhishek Das’s career strike- Rate was low. The 90-plus, tried to pull the very first ball of the next over when he just needed to strike his senior teammate.
Goswami, who looked in good touch, went for a non-existent second run and a fine run out by bowler KC Cariappa (0/21 in 4 overs).
Captain Sudip Chatterjee could not clear the in-field of military medium bowler MB Darshan as the ball hit the thumb of his bat.
Kaif Ahmed (20 off 26 balls) added 49 runs with Chatterjee before being bowled by left-arm spinner J Suchit (2/24 in four overs), who also included Shahbaz Ahmed off the very next ball. However, former India Under-25 all-rounder Rithvik showed some great mood.
He hit two big sixes in the final over of Vidyadhar Patil and his partner Akash Deep hit a boundary to bring the equation of 19 off 6 balls to one run in the last ball.
Akash Deep, who was recruited by RCB, instead of trying an aerial route, went for a non-existent single, with the fielders circling him and, to his horror, it was one of India’s finest fielders. One went to Pandey, who picked up the stumps and threw it down. Non-striker’s end in one action.
Pandey, who was having a normal day till then, then came and smashed Mukesh Kumar for a six to set the semi-final date with Vidarbha.
Earlier, Karun Nair smashed 55 off 29 balls to take Karnataka to 160 for 5, giving them a fighting chance.
Brief Scores: Karnataka 160/5 in 20 overs (Karun Nair 55 not out). Bengal 160/8 in 20 overs. (Rittik C 51, Ritwik Rc 36, J Suchit 2/24).
Super Over: Bengal 6/2 in 0.4 overs. Karnataka 8/0 in 0.2 balls.
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