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    Karnataka race to a 9-wicket win over Andhra Pradesh

    Shimoga: Mayank Agarwal and Lokesh Rahul scored an unbeaten half century each to power Karnataka to a nine-wicket win over Andhra Pradesh in their last South Zone league match of the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 Trophy here on Friday. Agarwal (75 not out off 60 balls) and Rahul (60 not out off 48 balls) shared unbroken 135 runs for the second wicket to help Karnataka chase down the 131-run target with 11 balls to spare.

    Karnataka, however, lost opener Manish Pandey for nought in the very first over of their innings. But Agarwal and Rahul took up the gauntlet and ensured an easy win for Karnataka, who finished at 136 for 1. Agarwal struck nine boundaries during his unbeaten knock while Rahul clobbered three fours and two sixes.

    Andhra employed six bowlers but none could trouble the Agarwal-Rahul duo with Syed Shahabuddin picking up the lone Karnataka wicket to fall in the form of Pandey.

    Earlier, sent in to bat, Andhra lost wickets at regular intervals to be bowled out for 130. Srikar Bharat (25), Bodapati Sumanth (30) and Andimani Pradeep (29) all made good starts but failed to capitalise. R Vinay Kumar was the pick of Karnataka bowlers, bagging three wickets for 15 runs while Stuart Binny (2 for 35) and Pandey (2 for 20) grabbed two wickets each.

    From the South Zone leg, Karnataka and Kerala have stormed into the knockout stage of the tournament to be held at Ranchi. Kerala defeated Goa by 38 runs in their last match of the leg.

    Batting first, Kerala rode on VA Jagadeesh's 53-ball 60, which included four boundaries and a six, to post a fighting 146 for 9. In reply, Goa were bowled out for 108 in 19.3 overs.

    In another South Zone encounter, Hyderabad defeated Tamil Nadu by eight runs. After posting a challenging 167 for 7, Hyderabad restricted Tamil Nadu to 159 for 9.

    In another match, Siddharth Kaul picked up four wickets to help Punjab beat Himachal Pradesh by two wickets. Himachal were bowled out for 100 runs in 19.5 overs. Rishi Dhawan was the top scorer for Himachal with 31 runs in 33 balls smashing four boundaries.

    Chasing the target, Punjab lost wickets at regular intervals but scored at an incredible run rate despite losing wickets. Punjab scored 101 runs in 9.4 overs losing eight wickets.

    Amitoze Singh Punjab made 15 runs in just six balls with two boundaries and a six.