With a comprehensive innings and 217-run win over Tamil Nadu in the Ranji Trophy 2014-15 final at the Wankhede Stadium, Karnataka became the only team besides Mumbai to retain the trophy more than once. Karnataka had earlier won the trophy consecutively in 1997-98 (under Rahul Dravid) and 1998-99 (under Sunil Joshi).
The defending champions who had cantered unbeaten into the final, batted Tamil Nadu out of the match by scoring 762 runs in the first innings after bowling them out for 134. Their innings was powered by Karun Nair’s record-breaking 328 and complemented by Lokesh Rahul’s 188. (Also Read: How Karun Nair converted 30 into 300 - Ranji Trophy Final 2014-15)
Facing a 628-run deficit when they commenced their second innings in the second session of the fourth day, TN lost three wickets before stumps. They needed to bat the last day out to deny Karnataka an outright win.
After resuming their second innings on 113 for three on the final day, Baba Aparajith and Vijay Shankar added 78 runs in the morning before the former departed. Aparajith, who had resumed his innings on 36, was the first to reach fifty with a boundary through mid-off. A bit later, his partner too reached the mark with a single to backward square-leg off Sreenath Aravind. The pair stood their ground as they carried the innings forward until Aravind struck to end the stand for 112. The delivery brushed past Aparajith’s bat and Robin Uthappa took a brilliant catch behind the wickets to send back the middle-order batsman.
Dinesh Karthik then joined Shankar in extending the innings to 250 for four until Lunch. In the seventh over after lunch Shankar brought up his century with a boundary past point. However, soon after reaching the three-figure mark he departed handing a catch to the bowler, Vinay Kumar.
Karthik, who had been scoring milking the Karnataka bowlers at a quick pace, coasted to his century off 95 balls. In the next over, after slamming Aravind over mid-off for four, he nicked the pacer to Robin Uthappa but the delivery was a no-ball and he survived.
With Malolan Rangarajan, Karthik then took the team to tea at 378 for six. But on the seventh ball of the final session he holed out to deep cover off Shreyas Gopal to depart for 120.
Aswin Crist, who then came to the crease, was stumped by Uthappa off Gopal before opening his account. With two quick wickets, the spinner had brought Karnataka within sniffing distance of victory. Aravind then claimed Rangarajan to seal the win. With P Parameswaran injured during fielding and unavailable to bat, Karnataka had coasted to comprehensive victory on Thursday evening.
Match result: Karnataka won by innings and 217 runs
End of Day 1: TN 1st inn 134 all out in 62.4 overs (A Mukund 35, Vinay Kumar 5/34, A Mithun 3/54); Karnataka 1st inn 45/4 in 14 overs (A Mithun 14*, L Balaji 3/10)
End of Day 2: Karnataka 1st inn 323/5 in 99 overs (Karun Nair 130*, KL Rahul 131*)
End of Day 3: Karnataka 1st inn 618/7 in 189 overs (Karun Nair 310*, KL Rahul 188, R Vinay Kumar 41*)
End of Day 4: Karnataka 1st inn 762 all out in 231.2 overs (Karun Nair 328, R Vinay Kumar 105*); TN 2nd inn 113/3 in 40 overs (B Aparajith 36*, S Gopal 2/ 36, Vinay Kumar 1/17)
End of Day 5: TN 2nd inn 411 all out in 107.5 overs (V Shankar 103, D Karthik 120, S Gopal 4/126)