Bengaluru, September 26: Karnataka are the defending champions of the Vijay Hazare Trophy. But their campaign so far in the tournament did not mirror that fancy tag. They have lost three matches out of four - a 56-run defeat to Maharashtra (via VJD Method), an 88-run rout against Mumbai and the latest in the list - a seven-wicket surrender to Baroda on Wednesday (September 26).
On a Just Cricket Ground pitch that gripped a bit and offered carry to the pacers, Karnataka batsmen struggled for momentum and settled for 237 all out. A hundred by R Samarth (102, 125b, 8x4) was the only saving grace for Karnataka on an otherwise dull day. But Karnatka bowlers could not replicate the tidiness of their Baroda counterparts as the visitors raced past the target in 43.3 overs losing just three wickets. In fact, a 17-minute rain delay in the post-lunch session had reduced Baroda's chase to 227 in 47 overs.
Kedar Devdhar (123, 128b, 11x4, 2x6) and Deepak Hooda (62, 72b, 2x4, 2x6) shared 125 runs off 129 balls for the third wicket that effectively sealed the match in favour of Baroda. That near-run-a-ball alliance might give you the picture of daring shots and improvisations. They were there but the running between the wickets of Baroda batsmen was the highlight.
Out of the 129 runs, 63 runs came through singles and twos that ensured that Baroda were really under any pressure even when the big hits were not really coming. Even Devdhar hit those two sixes only after reaching his three-figure mark.
But in contrast, Karnataka innings was marred by some uncertain running between the wickets with Shreyas Gopal as its biggest casualty. Unlike the Baroda batsmen, the Karnataka players also struggled to get the big hits going even occasionally barring K Gowtham. Gowtham hammered couple of sixes during 20-ball 28 but the earlier inertia in the innings has been too deep to paper over.
Karnataka now have just two points, courtesy a washout against Goa on Monday, from four matches and their entry into the knockout stage of Vijay Hazare Trophy looks ever so bleak now even if they win all their remaining matches.