When Mumbai take on Karnataka, it is always supposed to be a nail-biter but as it turned out, it was a one-sided affair, with Prithvi Shaw’s 165 taking Mumbai to 322. In reply, Devdutt Padikkal did make the right noise, with a 64, but with no other real support, it was Mumbai who entered the final.
Brief scores: Mumbai 322 (Prithvi Shaw 165, Shams Mulani 45; V Vyshak 4/56, Prasidh Krishna 3/64) beat Karnataka 250 all-out (Devdutt Padikkal 64, BR Sharath 61; Tanush Kotian 2/23, Tushar Deshpande 2/37) by 72 runs
If last game was a rare occurrence, Prithvi Shaw ensured that it wasn’t, with another scintillating start for Mumbai, who have really upped the ante in the Vijay Hazare Trophy, especially after the drubbing in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy earlier this year. After being put into bat, the right-handed opener started the innings very cautiously as he lost his opening partner Yashasvi Jaiswal, in just the fifth over of the innings, at 11/1.
From thereon, Shaw began to attack, building a partnership with the seasoned pro, Aditya Tare. While the two got Mumbai to a solid foundation at 73/1 in 15 overs, Shreyas Gopal’s timely strike brought Karnataka back in the contest, at 82/2. From thereon, there was no looking back for Mumbai - with Shams Mulani and Shaw taking on the Karnataka bowlers, effectively and effortlessly. By the time Mulani was dismissed, in the 40th over of the innings, Mumbai had already surpassed the 240-run mark, with Shaw bringing his century in just 79 deliveries, a knock that consisted of all shots on the book.
However, Shaw was sent back by Vyshak Vijay Kumar, for a well-made 165 off just 122 deliveries, a knock where he had 17 boundaries and seven sixes, eclipsing past Mayank Agarwal's record of 723 runs, with 754 runs this season. Karnataka bowlers found a timely intervention to bring the scoring rate down. Mumbai though, with the batting prowess of Shivam Dube and Aman Hakim Khan, got themselves beyond the 300-run mark. In the last few overs, there was complete harakiri as Mumbai completed the innings on 322, being bowled out with four balls remaining in the innings.
For Karnataka, it was a determined bowling performance from Vyshak, who picked up a four-fer while Prasidh Krishna had three against his name. On the other hand, the other bowlers - Ronit More, Shreyas Gopal and CSK new recruit Krishnappa Gowtham - picked up a wicket each, with Gopal leaking runs.
In reply, Karnataka came away with a poor start, losing their skipper Ravikumar Samarth in the second over of the innings, with just nine runs on board. However, as they say, never rule Devdutt Padikkal out from a good innings, as, yet again, the left-hander was instrumental in Karnataka’s comeback, with a run-a-ball 64. But around him, there was a real batting mess - as No.3 and 4, Siddharth KV and Manish Pandey could only score 8 and 1.
While former skipper Karun Nair did walk out to the crease, Padikkal’s exit only meant that the game was more of when and who Mumbai would meet in the final, rather than how Karnataka could force a comeback. Nair did make a valiant attempt, with a 29 while Shreyas Gopal scored a 33, but the 20s and 30s were never going to be enough to see them home. However, when BR Sharath and Gowtham punched their gloves, it seemed to be something different, as a flurry of boundaries - sixes to be precise - swung Karnataka’s way. But as the going got tough, Gowtham holed out, leaving Karnataka 119 runs to win in the last 14 overs.
Barring the knock from BR Sharath, who scored a 61 off 39 deliveries, Karnataka and their target always looked out of reach. Eventually, it was a formality ready to be done, as Mumbai set up a date with Uttar Pradesh in the final of the Vijay Hazare Trophy. Both the sides were knocked out relatively early in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, which shows how much they have worked on, since then.