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regular-article-logo Wednesday, 17 April 2024

Mumbai storm into 48th Ranji Trophy final after defeating Tamil Nadu

After his stunning 109 on the second day that handed 41-time champions Mumbai a big 232-run lead, Shardul Thakur ripped the Tamil Nadu top-order with two wickets that eventually saw the visitors getting bundled out for 162 in their second essay in this semi-final clash

Our Bureau, PTI Mumbai Published 05.03.24, 09:35 AM
Mumbai’s players after winning their semi-final match against Tamil Nadu in Mumbai on Monday.

Mumbai’s players after winning their semi-final match against Tamil Nadu in Mumbai on Monday. PTI

Shardul Thakur’s all-round brilliance was the central point of Mumbai’s massive innings and 70-run win over a clumsy Tamil Nadu inside three days as they marched to their 48th Ranji Trophy final on Monday.

After his stunning 109 on the second day that handed 41-time champions Mumbai a big 232-run lead, Thakur ripped the Tamil Nadu top-order with two wickets that eventually saw the visitors getting bundled out for 162 in their second essay in this semi-final clash.

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Baba Indrajith (70) waged a lone battle for Tamil Nadu, whose other top-order batters walked back without any significant contribution while the middle-order too crumbled against the pressure. However, the pair of Indrajith and Pradosh Ranjan Paul did put some resistance, stitching 73 runs for the fourth wicket.

At the other semi-final in Nagpur, a spunky unbeaten 97 by Yash Rathod helped Vidarbha script a superb fightback and reach 343/6 in their second innings against Madhya Pradesh on the third day of the clash at the Civil Lines Stadium.

Rathod, who faced 165 balls, received excellent support from his captain Akshay Wadkar (77) as the pair added 158 runs for the stubborn sixth-wicket stand, helping Vidarbha to recover from a shaky 161/5. Vidarbha now lead by a handy 261 runs.

The catalyst of Mumbai’s win was Shardul’s mighty effort — 109, 2/48 and 2/16. He dragged them back into the contest from a perilous 106/7 in the first innings to a handy lead while making his maiden century across formats. Shardul was all over Tamil Nadu with a two-wicket burst early on Day III, helping Mumbai reduce the visitors to 10/3.

He swung the new ball dangerously and snaffled the key wicket of N. Jagadeesan for a seven-ball duck. Pacer Mohit Avasthi also tasted success when he had Washington Sundar, who was promoted to No. 3, caught behind by Hardik Tamore.

With the top-order blown away, recovery was a Herculean task for Tamil Nadu, but the pair of Indrajith and Paul did well to take the attack to the opposition and keep their side in the contest. Indrajith was back in his elements, cracking nine fours to make 70 off 105 balls, but his resistance ended after nicking one behind to Tamore off Avasthi.

Mumbai spinners Tanush Kotian (2/18) and Shams Mulani (4/53) joined pacers in piling up further misery on the rival batters, sharing the remaining six wickets to wrap up the win for the hosts.

But it was Kotian, who took the initiative with wickets of Paul (25) and Tamil Nadu skipper R Sai Kishore (21) before tea, while left-arm spinner Mulani grabbed the final four batters to return with figures of 13.5-1-53-4.

Earlier, Mumbai were bowled out for 378 with Sundar taking the final wicket to break the final-wicket stand for 88 runs between Tushar Deshpande (26) and Kotian (89 not out).While Thakur was named the Player of the Match for his exploits, the game also witnessed the 25-year-old Kotian making some good strides towards being a dependable lower-order batter.

Summarised scores

  • In Mumbai: Tamil Nadu 146 & 162 (Baba Indrajith 70; Shardul Thakur 2/16, Shams Mulani 4/53). Mumbai 378. Mumbai won by an innings & 70 runs.
  • In Nagpur: Vidarbha 170 & 343/6 (Yash Rathod 97 batting, Akshay Wadkar 77). Madhya Pradesh 252. At stumps, Day III.
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