Visakhapatnam: In a nail-biting contest and a match which turned controversial at the start of the Hyderabad’s chase, Karnataka registered a two-run win in the South Zone Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 league match at ACA-VDCA Stadium here on Thursday.
As Hyderabad walked out in pursuit of 203 runs, the target was revised to 205 after Karnataka skipper R Vinay Kumar protested that the two runs were needed to be added to their total as Mehdi Hasan (Hyderabad) had stepped on the boundary rope at the square leg off opener Karun Nair’s hit in the day’s second over.
The TV replays clearly showed that Hasan had been the guilty fielder but umpire Ulhas Gandhe had thought otherwise and did not declare it a boundary. He even did not seek the help of the third umpire. When Karnataka ended the innings it read 203.
Vinay was vehement in his protest when the fielders took the field. He even convinced the umpires Gandhe and Abhijit Deshmukh to alter the target. On seeing the revised target, Hyderabad skipper Ambati Rayudu ran on to the field, along with Pragyan Ojha and objected to the changed score. A good ten minutes of play was lost before Rayudu had to retreat back to the pavilion and Hyderabad openers began their innings.
Ironically, the two runs made the difference in the high-scoring match. The Hyderabad management did not like the way the match officials, including match referee Rajib Debbarma, revised the target without consulting their skipper. Coach J Arunkumar said that they have protested to the BCCI as the match should be declared as a tie. In fact, the Hyderabad team waited for the super-over after the tie.
“The match referee and the umpires should have informed us about the ‘revised’ target before the start of the Hyderabad innings but not before the first over. This match should have been declared as a tie. We are waiting for the BCCI’s reply to this respect,’’ said Arunkumar.
Akshath Reddy (70 off 29 balls, 3×4, 7×6) and Tanmay Agarwal (38 off 23 balls, 1×4, 4×6) set up a rollicking stand of 60 runs in 5.5 overs. Agarwal set the tone as he carted sixes with belligerent batting. Karnataka’s batting hero K Gowtham, bowling his off-spinners, broke the pair by consuming Agarwal at extra cover.
The departure of Agarwal saw Akshath Reddy change his gears. The opener toyed with Karnataka’s attack as he hammered medium-pacer Abhimanyu Mithun for two sixes and one four and he raced off to 50 with help of three fours and five sixes. Hyderabad’s 100 came off in 8.1 overs.
But Indian discard medium pacer Stuart Binny halted Hyderabad when he sent back Ravi Teja and Akshath in the 11th over. Hyderabad seemed to lose their way when Rayudu, Kolla Sumanth, who had a bad day behind the stumps, fell cheaply.
Karnataka came back into the match as left-arm seamer Sreenath Arvind came up with brilliant spell in the 18th over. Left-handed B Sandeep revived Hyderabad’s hopes with a cameo knock of 19-ball 34 (2×4, 2×6). But needing eight runs in the last over, Hyderabad committed hara-kiri with a spate of run-outs, including that of Sandeep and Akash Bhandari. Binny was the bowling hero as he defended the eight runs with yorker length deliveries, apart from bagging three wickets.
But Hyderabad had to be blamed for the defeat because of sluggish fielding. Mohammad Siraj dropped two catches at long-on that of Nair (77 off 42 balls, 10×4, 1×6) and Gowtham to give Karnataka a big total. The promoted Gowtham, who came after Mayank Agarwal was out in the second over, slammed a 31-ball 57 (4×4, 4×6) and put on 131 runs with Nair. The tall M Ravi Kiran bowled superbly in the slog overs to restrict Karnataka. Sumanth messed up an easy stumping too in Karnataka’s innings.