Karun Nair and Manish Pandey helped Karnataka enter the Ranji Trophy semifinals by coasting to victory against Rajasthan at the Chinnaswamy Stadium on Friday. Karnataka will meet the winner of the quarter-final between Saurashtra and Uttar Pradesh next week.
Karun and Manish guided Karnataka out of a tricky spot while chasing 184 to win on the final day. Karnataka had slipped to 56 for 4 when the duo built an unbroken 129-run partnership that took Karnataka to the semifinals. The partnership also came in quick time, in just 24.5 overs.
Karun Nair, who had scored only one half-century in the season before this innings, shrugged off concerns over his form to make a patient 61 off 129 balls while Manish Pandey scored a freewheeling 87 off just 75 balls.
Rajasthan had scored 224 in the first innings thanks to 50-run scores by skipper Mahipal Lomrov (50) and Rajesh Bishnoi (79). Karnataka, in response, was helped by Vinay Kumar and Rohit More's steady batting in the first innings as the duo put up 97 in the last wicket, taking the score from 166 for 9 to 263. The partnership turned out to be crucial in the context of the game and took the contest away from Rajasthan.
In the second innings, Rajasthan was dismissed for 222 leaving Karnataka with a chase of 184 that was achieved in quick time thanks to the partnership by Karun and Manish.
Karnataka joined Kerala, Saurashtra and Vidarbha in the semi-finals and will now play Saurashtra on January 24. Kerala had earlier scripted history to make it to its maiden Ranji Trophy semifinal appearance with a win over Gujarat.
Rajasthan 224 and 222 (Robin Bist 44), Karnataka 263 and 185/4 (Manish Pandey 87*)