Nagpur: Skipper R Vinay Kumar led from the front with some devastating bowling and picked up a six-wicket haul including a hat-trick to help Karnataka bundle out Mumbai for 173 in the Ranji Trophy quarter-final that began in Nagpur on Thursday.
Kumar, who made most of the conditions which aided pace bowling, after inserting Mumbai on winning the toss, returned impressive figures of 6/34, including the hat-trick completed in two overs, as 41-time champions Mumbai crumbled in only 56 overs on Day 1 of the five-day match at the VCA Stadium in Jamtha.
To continue their domination, Karnataka replied with 115/1 by stumps, and are only 58 runs adrift of Mumbai with their in-form opener Mayank Agarwal unbeaten on 62 off 83 balls with M Abbas (12 not out) for company.
Karnataka, who topped Group A, are all set to take the first innings lead.
Kumar also became the third bowler to complete a hat-trick against Mumbai, the other two being B Kalyanasundaram for Tamil Nadu in the 1972-73 Ranji final and Raghuram Bhat for Karnataka in the 1981-82 season.
He became the sixth bowler to take a hat-trick in the knock-out stage of the national championship, the last one to achieve the distinction being S Sen Sharma for Bengal against Delhi in the pre-quarter final of the 1993-94 season.
Kumar wreaked havoc on the Mumbai batting line-up as he removed young and in-form opener Prithvi Shaw (2), who edged to first slip Karun Nair, with the last ball of his first over with the score on six.
Then with the first ball of his next over, he dismissed the other opener Jay Bista (1) in a similar fashion, and then completed his hat-trick by trapping Akash Parkar (0) in front of the wicket to reduce Mumbai to 7/3.
Kumar later scalped Siddhesh Lad, Akhil Herwadkar and Karsh Kothari to complete his devastating spell.
Mumbai were struggling at 74/7 before medium pacer Dhawal Kulkarni, who came in to bat at number nine, counter-attacked with a knock of 75 in 132 balls, to take his team beyond the 150-run mark.
Kulkarni struck nine fours and two sixes. The only other notable contribution came from the seasoned Herwadkar (32 off 75 balls).
Lad, Mumbai's crisis man this season, was also out for eight while skipper Aditya Tare's poor run with the bat continued as he fell for four.
Kumar was well supported by Sreenath Arvind (2/45) and Abhimanyu Mithun (1/31).
Mumbai 1st innings: 173 all out (Dhawal Kulkarni 75, Akhil Herwadkar 32; R Vinay Kumar 6/34)
Karnataka 1st innings: 115/1 (Mayank Agarwal 62 not out, M Abbas 12 not out).
Gujarat on top against Bengal despite Easwaran ton
Jaipur: Opener Abhimanyu Easwaran showed his mettle under pressure as his patient 129 enabled Bengal to score 261/6 at stumps on the first day of their Ranji Trophy quarter-final against defending champions Gujarat.
Courtesy Easwaran's sixth first-class hundred and his 175-run stand for the fifth wicket with veteran Anushtup Majumdar (94), Bengal's score had a semblance of respectability after being reduced to 59/4 at one stage.
Easwaran, who is on the national selection committee's radar, showed perfect big match temperament as he fished his team out of troubled waters. His 246-ball knock had 17 boundaries.
It was the second new ball that did the trick for Gujarat as Easwaran edged one off Chintan Gaja (2/75 in 20 overs) to Samit Gohil.
With Bengal playing five specialist bowlers on a greenish Sawai Man Singh track, the tail-enders would now need to get the team past the 300-run mark.
Abhishek Raman (5) and No 3 Writtick Chatterjee (4) were quickly dismissed by Ishwar Chaudhary (3/49), while Gaja trapped Manoj Tiwary plumb in front.
Majumdar and Easwaran then resurrected the innings as they played the two spinners – left arm orthodox Siddharth Desai (1/67) and leg spinner Piyush Chawla (0/43) – without much fuss.
Majumdar, who has been in good form since his comeback, faced 177 balls, hitting 11 fours. In an effort to reach his hundred quickly, Majumdar was stumped by Desai.
Getting Easwaran's wicket at the fag end put the defending champions in driver's seat, considering that Gujarat have a far superior batting line-up comprising skipper Parthiv Patel, prolific opening duo of Priyank Panchal and Samit Gohel along with Rujul Bhatt.
Bengal 1st innings: 261/6 (Abhimanyu Easwaran 129, Anushtup Majumdar 94, Ishwar Chaudhary 3/49, Chintan Gaja 2/75).
Spinner Vikas Mishra takes three as Delhi reduce Madhya Pradesh to 223/6
Vijaywada: Left-arm spinner Vikas Mishra struck thrice, helping Delhi reduce Madhya Pradesh to 223/6 on Day 1 of the Ranji Trophy quarter-finals in Vijaywada on Thursday.
Opener Ankit Dane (59) and Naman Ojha (49) batted well for Madhya Pradesh but could not get the big score their team wanted.
Harpeet Singh frustrated the Delhi bowlers with an unbeaten 47 towards the end of the day and was batting alongside Puneet Datey when stumps were called.
Delhi struck early after opting to field as medium pacer Navdeep Saini trapped opener Rajat Patidar in front of the stumps.
Dane then struck a 59-run stand with Shubham Sharma (17) before the opener was adjudged lbw off pacer Mishra.
Ojha held the innings together after Dane's dismissal, stitching a 59-run stand with Devendra Bundela (17) before the duo departed in quick succession to leave Madhya Pradesh in trouble at 157/5.
Mishra was the stand out bowler for Delhi with three wickets for 40 runs in 24 overs.
Vikas Tokas, Manan Sharma and Saini were the other wicket-takers.
Madhya Pradesh 1st innings: 223/6 in 90 overs (Dane 59, Ojha 49; Mishra 3/40).
KC Akshay takes two wickets, Vidarbha struggling at 45/3 on Day 1
Surat: KC Akshay claimed two wickets to help Kerala reduce Vidarbha to 45/3 on the opening day of their Ranji Trophy quarter-final match which was truncated due to wet outfield in Surat on Thursday.
On a day when only 24 overs of play was possible, Vidarbha lost three wickets after electing to bat.
Opener Faiz Fazal (2) got out cheaply following the start of the match after tea.
Although the other opener RR Sanjay (17) and Wasim Jaffer (12) reached the double digit mark, they failed to keep their wickets intact.
At the close of play, Ganesh Satish and Karn Sharma were both batting on seven each.
While Akshay accounted for both Sanjay and Jaffer, returning figures of 2/14, MD Nidheesh claimed 1/12.
Vidarbha 1st innings: 45/3 in 24 overs (RR Sanjay 17; KC Akshay 2/14).