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Ranji Trophy 2023-24, SF 2: Thakur's all-round hand downs TN, Mumbai advance to 48th Ranji final

Ranji Trophy 2023-24, Semi-Final 2: Shardul Thakur's all-round hand downs Tamil Nadu, Mumbai advance to 48th Ranji final. Top Performers from Mumbai vs Tamil Nadu semi-final.


Ranji Trophy 2023-24, Semi-final, Mumbai vs Tamil Nadu_ Mumbai beat Tamil Nadu by an innings and 70 runs  _ Walking Wicket (Images_ ©X_Twitter)
Ranji Trophy 2023-24: Shardul Thaur's all-round show took Mumbai to Finals (Images: ©X/Twitter)

Shreyas Iyer grabbed a comfortable catch of Tamil Nadu’s last man, Sandeep Warrier, at the cover region to complete their dominating victory by an innings and 70 runs inside three days. The thumping victory during the second semifinal at the Sharad Pawar Cricket Academy BKC complex in Mumbai advanced Mumbai to the Ranji Trophy final for the 48th time.

 

Among the four elite groups of Ranji Trophy 2023-24, Andhra’s Ricky Bhui is the top run-getter so far with 902 runs in eight games at an average of 75.16 with four centuries and three fifties. In the bowling department, Tamil Nadu’s Ravisrinivasan Sai Kishore is the leading wicket-taker with 53 scalps in nine games at an average of 18.52 with three five-wicket hauls.


 

Mumbai storm into the Ranji final, thanks to an all-round performance from Shardul Thakur

Tamil Nadu captain R Sai Kishore won the toss and on a green surface decided to bat first, a decision that raised several eyebrows on the first day. Mumbai welcomed Shreyas Iyer into the side, while TN was boosted with the return of Washington Sundar.

 

Mumbai didn’t waste any time to prove their decision the worst one as Shardul Thakur trapped Sai Sudharsan (0) before the wickets on the fourth ball of the morning.

 

None of the top four batters from TN could reach double figures as the visitors were reduced to 42/5. Narayan Jagadeesan, TN’s highest run-scorer of the season with 816 runs, offered a dolly to forward short leg.

 

Sundar (44) and Vijay Shankar (44) recovered the small portion of the drowning ship with a 48-run sixth-wicket partnership. But no one from Tamil Nadu’s lower order could stay longer as the visitors were blown away for just 146 in their first innings. Tushar Deshpande finished with 3/24.

 

Mumbai lost Prithvi Shaw (5) early in their batting. Bhupen Lalwani (15) played some good shots but didn’t last long either. Ajinkya Rahane (19) continued his poor form as the extra bounce found the edge to the lone slip fielder. Suddenly, the home side was struggling at 91/4. Shreyas Iyer (3) didn’t have a great outing too.


 

Musheer Khan, however from the other end, looked in fabulous touch as he celebrated a fine fifty. Sai Kishore came back to change the course again. Musheer (55) went for the drive with the spin and found his right leg short of the crease. Shams Mulani went back to the dressing room on a second ball duck. At 106/7, TN could hope of denying a heavy lead.

 

But Shardul Thakur had different plans. He went in an aggressive mode and started to take on the bowlers. He put up a 105-run eighth-wicket stand with Hardik Tamore (35). Soon, Thakur notched up his maiden first-class century and finished on a 109 in 104 balls with 13 boundaries and four sixes.

 

Tanush Kotian (89*) shared a 79-run ninth wicket stand with Thakur, and later an 88-run last wicket partnership with Deshpande. Mumbai finished on 378 in their first innings with a lead of 232 runs. 


Sudharsan almost gave catching practice to short midwicket on the very first ball of Tamil Nadu’s second innings. Another poor show from the top order found them at 10/3. Indrajith (70) and Pradosh Paul (25) put up a 73-run fourth wicket stand but wickets kept on coming at regular intervals. 


Shankar (24) and Sai Kishore (21) too couldn’t convert their starts. Thakur was troubling the batters with reverse-swing. They lost their last five wickets for just nine runs, as from 153/5, they slipped to 162 all-out. Mumbai reached their 48th Ranji Trophy final with a huge victory by an innings and 70 runs. 


Brief Scores: MUM 378 (Thakur 109, Kotian 89*, Sai Kishore 6/99) beat TN 146 (Shankar 44, Sundar 43, Deshpande 3/24) & 162 (Indrajith 70, Mulani 4/53) by an innings and 70 runs.

Player of the Match: Shardul Thakur (109 & 4/64) 



Sundar and Iyer returned with poor outings in the semifinal 

Shreyas Iyer came into the game after recovering from his injury. The focus was totally on his performance, especially after his exclusion from BCCI’s central contract. He dropped a comfortable catch in the field to give a life to Washington Sundar in the first innings. Even with the bat in hand, he looked clueless and a bit out of touch. 


Iyer lasted just eight balls for his three-run knock. He was getting troubled by the short balls early on his innings. And at the end, Sandeep Warrier disturbed his stumps with a fuller-length delivery. Even on the first ball of the second innings, he dropped an easy catch at short mid-wicket of Sudarshan.

 

Sundar showed determination and resilience in the first innings as his 43-run knock in 138 balls gave Tamil Nadu some relief from early stress. However, it was surprising to see him bowl just 7.5 overs out of 106.5. He was introduced very late in the attack and ended up with 1/21. In the second innings, he could hit just one boundary before edging behind the stumps.

 

The Ranji Trophy 2023-24 final will be held from March 10 at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. 


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