KL Rahul, who returned from New Zealand after scintillating time with the bat will now feature for Karnataka in the ongoing Ranji Trophy semifinal against Bengal at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata. The second semifinal will get underway from February 29 (Saturday). Rahul, who is out of the Test side, will look to score big and make a return to the national team.
Meanwhile, Karnataka progressed through to the semifinal beating Jammu & Kashmir by 167-run with Krishnappa Gowtham being the wrecker-in-chief with seven wickets. Karnataka set J&K a target of 331 on Day 5 before bowling them out for 163 in less than 45 overs. The Karun Nair-led side was bowled out for 316 runs adding only 71 runs to their overnight score.
Krishnappa Gowtham then wreaked havoc on the home team batsmen, picking up wickets at regular intervals to reduce them to 53 for 5. There was some resistance lower down the order thanks to fighting knocks from Shubham Pundir (31), Aquib Nabi (26) and No. 11 Umar Nazir Mir (24) but that wasn't enough to prevent the hosts from slipping to a loss.
Karnataka have received a massive boost ahead of their semifinal clash with star India batsman KL Rahul available for selection. Rahul has returned to the country after not getting picked for the red-ball tour. The top-order batsman has been in stellar form and was India's highest run-scorer in the limited-overs leg of the New Zealand tour.
KL Rahul will also be eyeing to use this platform to strengthen his case for a Test return. His last red-ball game for India came last year in August against West Indies at Sabina Park.