Pavan Deshpande further enhanced his growing stature in a star-studded team with a strokeful 95 as Karnataka defeated India 'A' by 65 runs to enter the final of the Deodhar Trophy tournament here on Tuesday.
R Samarth too continued his rich vein of form with a delightful 85 as Vijay Hazare Trophy champions posted a mammoth 339 for four in 50 overs. Needing to knock off the required target in 40 overs to make the final at the cost of Karnataka, India 'B' mounted a spirited challenge but the target was too steep to reach. The Ankit Bawne-led side eventually folded for 274 in 39.5 overs.
Off-spinner K Gowtham was once again Karnataka's star performer with the ball with returns of 4/52 while medium pacer Ronit More claimed 3/64.
In the final on Thursday, Karnataka will take on India 'B' who had lost to the former on Monday.
While the in-form Mayank Agarwal (22) and skipper Karun Nair (35) gave Karnataka a fine start, Deshpande and Samarth dominated the India 'A' attack with a third-wicket stand of 131 runs.
Deshpande's knock came off 87 balls (10x4, 3x6) while Samarth consumed as many number of balls for his innings with the help of eight fours. Both missed out on well-deserved centuries. Stuart Binny (37 n.o. off 24, 4x4, 2x6) and CM Gautam (49 n.o. 1x4, 3x6) gave the innings much-needed push. The flourish with which they finished the innings helped Karnataka in the end result.
Unmukt Chand (81) and Prithvi Shaw (40) at the top and Ishan Kishan (73) in the middle kept India A hopes alive but none of them stayed long enough to see the team past the victory mark.