Dhoni fails to finish as Jharkhand go down to Karnataka

Kolkata, Feb 25 (IANS) Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhonis 50-ball 43 and his 81-run partnership with Saurabh Tiwary proved a trifle short as a fighting Jharkhand went down by five runs to Karnataka in a Group D tie of the Vijay Hazare Trophy cricket championship here on Saturday.

Jharkhand’s innings folded up for 261 in 49.5 overs in reply to Karnataka’s 266 all out in 49.4 overs at the Eden Gardens.

Powered by a 95-ball 77 from Manish Pandey and a 93-ball 71 from Ravikumar Samarth, Karnataka set Jharkhand a target of 267.

Pandey and Samarth were involved in a 140-ball 116-run stand for the third wicket that came to an end when the latter was caught and bowled by medium-pacer Anand Singh.

Pandey and Pavan Deshpande (36) then added another 57 runs for the fourth wicket, but just when Karnatak a looked set for a total close to 300, Karnataka began losing wickets in a heap.

From 224/3 in the 43rd over, the Karnataka essay came to an end adding only 42 more runs.

For Jharkhand, pacer Rahul Shukla (4/45) was the most successful bowler.

In reply, Jharkhand lost Anand Singh and Virat Singh early, before Ishan Kishan and Ishank Jaggi tried to repair the damage by stitching together a 58-run stand.

Dhoni joined Tiwary in the middle in the 20th over at 79/4, and hit two towering sixes besides picking up five boundaries during his knock that ended in the 37th over when medium pacer T. Pradeep shattered his stumps.

Tiwary (68) fell a little later, and despite a spirited fight, the later order failed to overhaul the opponent total.

Karnataka off-spinner K. Gowtham registered figures of 4/58.

Brief scores: Karnataka 266 in 49.4 overs (Manish Pandey 77, Ravikumar Samarth 71; Rahul Shukla 4/45) vs Jharkhand: 261 in 49.5 overs (Saurabh Tiwary 68, Mahendra Singh Dhoni 43, K Gowtham 4/58).