Young opener Devdutt Padikkal sent a strong message to the national selectors before England ODIs as he slammed his fourth consecutive List A ton as Karnataka beat Kerala by 80 runs in the second quarter-final game of the Vijay Hazare Trophy in Delhi on Monday. (More Cricket News)
Karnataka rode on skipper Ravikumar Samarth's knock of 192 off 158 balls and a stroke-filled 101 by 20-year-old left-handed Padikkal (off 119 balls) to post an imposing 338/3 and then bundled out the opposition for 258.
Kerala's decision to put Karnataka into bat at the Air Force ground backfired badly, as Samarth and Padikkal toyed with their attack with a massive 249-run partnership for the first wicket.
Samarth, a 28-year-old right-hander, hammered 22 boundaries and three sixes in his 158-ball knock.
He completed his century in 112 balls and was aggressive right from the start, while Padikkal hammered 10 boundaries and two maximums.
It was a Samarth-Padikkal show as Karnataka were going strong at 196/0 after 35 overs having laid the foundation for a mammoth total.
While Padikkal continued his fabulous show in the national ODI tournament and in the process scored his 4th consecutive List A century and became the first Indian to do so, Samarth surpassed veteran Wasim Jaffer's unbeaten 170 to register the highest score in a Vijay Hazare knock-out match.
After Padikkal fell in the 43rd over, Samarth upped the ante while Manish Pandey (34 not out) played his role to perfection. Samarth fell in the 49th over but had ensured that his side went past the 315-run mark.
For Kerala, right-arm medium pacer Basil NP (3/57) was the pick of the bowlers, while others had an off-day. Former India speedster S Sreesanth conceded 73 runs in his 10 overs.
Chasing 339, Kerala was in a spot of bother at 15/2 as pacer Ronit More (5/36) dismissed Robin Uthappa (2) and Rohan Kunnummal (2) early. M Prasidh Krisha (1/22) removed Vishnu Vinod (28) as Kerala slumped to 52/3.
Two-down Vathsal Govind (92; 6x4, 3x6) and skipper Sachin Baby (27) did the repair job with their 59-run fourth wicket stand, but offie K Gowtham (2/73) did the trick by sending back Baby as Kerala was reeling at 111/4.
Vathsal, who was then joined by Mohammed Azharuddeen (52; 5x4, 2x6), had different plans as they took on the opposition bowlers, and forged a 92-run stand for the fifth wicket.
Seasoned leggie Shreyas Gopal (2/64), however, brought Karnataka back into the contest, by taking two quick wickets.
First, he dismissed Azharuddeen and then Akshay Chandran, while Govind became More's third victim, as the three dismissal paved the way for Karnataka's win.
Kerala was eventually bowled out for 258.
Brief Scores: Karnataka 338/3 (Ravikumar Samarth 192, Devdutt Padikkal 101; Basil NP 3/57) beat Kerala 258 (Vathsal Govind 92; M Azharuddeen 52; Ronit More 5/36, Shreyas Gopal 2/64) by 80 runs.