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Rediff.com  » Cricket » Ranji final: Bawne, Khurana lift Maharashtra with fighting fifties

Ranji final: Bawne, Khurana lift Maharashtra with fighting fifties

Last updated on: January 29, 2014 19:30 IST

Abhimanyu MithunHalf-centuries from Ankit Bawne and Chirag Khurana frustrated Karnataka and helped Maharashtra finish the opening day on a respectable 272 for five in the Ranji Trophy final, in Hyderabad, on Wednesday.

- Scorecard

At stumps on Day 1, Bawne was unbeaten on 89, with Sangram Atitkar on 29, the duo having put on an unbroken stand of 57 runs for the sixth wicket.

Pacer Abhimanyu Mithun was Karnataka's most successful bowler, claiming two for 44 in 19 overs.

Earlier, Maharashtra, who elected to bat after winning the toss, lost an early wicket in the form of Harshad Khadiwale, who fell leg before to R Vinay Kumar for 15 in the ninth over of the innings.

Opener Khurana then steadied the Maharashtra innings with a patient 64, hitting eight boundaries in his 145-ball essay.

India Under-19 captain Vijay Zol, who was permitted by the BCCI to skip the national junior team's World Cup preparatory camp in Bangalore and play the Ranji final, perished early, caught behind off Srinath Aravind for five.

The in-form Kedar Jadhav looked set for another big innings as he stroked 37 from 44 balls before becoming victim of a poor decision by umpire Anil Chaudhary.

Jadhav walked back disappointed after playing positively during his brief stay at the wicket, during which he hit Karnataka captain Vinay for three successive boundaries in an over.

The right-hander was adjudged caught behind while trying to flick a Mithun delivery. The batsman was clearly unhappy and television replays showed that the ball brushed the pad-strap before being taken by 'keeper Gautam.

Bawne came to the team's rescue with a gutsy innings of 89, that was laced with 10 boundaries in 172 deliveries, as Maharashtra ended the first day on even footing.

Coming in at No 5, he was rock-solid as he added 54 runs for the fourth wicket with Khurana.

Bawne was watchful to begin with and his first boundary came off the 24th ball he faced, hitting Mithun straight down the ground. He got his second four by clipping Vinay through the leg side.

Part-time off-spinner Kumar Nair was rewarded with the wicket of Khurana, who attempted the sweep shot but missed it and was trapped leg before.

Once skipper Rohit Motwani (17) came in at the wicket, Bawne took charge.

The 21-year-old, who was stripped of the India Under-19 captaincy and the team before the 2012 World Cup after being found over-age, looked composed during is stay at the crease. He was comfortable against the seamers and punished the loose deliveries bowled by the spinners.

He showed positive intent even after Khurana's dismissal as Nair was hit for two boundaries -- a paddle shot followed by one through mid-wicket by rocking back. He also hit leggie Shreyash Gopal through the covers.

He brought up his 15th first-class half century by coming down the track and smashing part-time leg-spinner Amit Verma through the extra cover region.

His 50, which included six boundaries, came off 102 balls.

While Motwani played second fiddle, the duo added 71 runs for the fifth wicket to take Maharashtra past the 200-run mark.

Motwani was finally dismissed by Mithun, who induced an edge to have him caught behind by Gautam.

In the next 17.5 overs, Maharashtra added another 57 runs for the unbroken sixth-wicket stand, with Bawne getting good support from last match's centurion Sangram Atitkar (29), who hit five boundaries in the process.

Vinay (1-56 in 23 overs), Sreenath Aravind (1-62) and Karun Nair (1-21) were Karnataka's other successful bowlers.

Image: Abhimanyu Mithun

Photograph: Mark Nolan/Getty Images