In 2013-14, Karun Nair helped Karnataka clinch the Ranji Trophy and the Irani Cup in his maiden first-class season with superlative batting that included three successive centuries in the national championships.
Karun Nair of Rest of India cuts away during his 192-ball 94 as Mumbai captain and wicketkeeper Aditya Tare follows the direction of the ball on Day Three of the Irani Cup encounter at the Brabourne Stadium yesterday. Pic/Suresh Karkera
This time, adding to the fact that his home side failed to make it to the Ranji Trophy knockouts, is Rest of India (ROI) team's poor position against Mumbai. The Ranji Trophy champions led by 299 runs on Day Three of the Irani Cup at Brabourne Stadium yesterday.
Karun was the top scorer with 94 as Rest were restricted to 306 by the Mumbai bowlers. Nair came into bat at the fall of Rest's second wicket (Jayant Yadav) with the scoreboard reading 110.
Off to a gingerly start
The right-handed batsman began gingerly as he took time to settle down. It was in the 50th over of the innings when Nair chose to flex his arms and dispatch Mumbai pacer Shardul Thakur to the cover and square leg fence with some superbly-timed drives and flick shots.
He completed his half-century in 121 deliveries when he hit left-arm spinner Iqbal Abdulla to long-on for a single.
In response to Mumbai's gigantic 603, Nair seldom missed an opportunity to punish the loose balls as he hit 11 boundaries.
The 24-year-old Karnataka batsman was at the wicket for 275 minutes and faced 192 balls. He was Rest's last man to fall when he slashed at a Dhawal Kulkarni delivery outside the off stump for Shreyas Iyer to complete a splendid catch.
Rest lost their seventh wicket for 201 in the form of Stuart Binny, but Jaydev Unadkat (48) gave Nair much-needed support as they stitched a 91-run stand for the eighth wicket. Rest skipper Naman Ojha was unable to curb his aggression as he danced down to Iqbal Abdulla's flighted delivery only to find Siddhesh Lad at short cover.
Binny also lost out on an opportunity to impress the national selectors. He perished for one, stumped by Aditya Tare off Jay Bista, the off-spinner.
Medium pacer Abhishek Nayar picked up three wickets - Srikar Bharat (16), Jayant Yadav (46) and tailender Jaydev Unadkat (48) – and conceded only 36 runs.