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Ranji Trophy: Thakur puts Mumbai in control; Avesh shines for MP

Last updated on: March 02, 2024 18:58 IST
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IMAGE: Shardul Thakur celebrates after taking a wicket against Tamil Nadu during their Ranji Trophy semi-final in Mumbai on Saturday. Photograph: BCCI Domestic/X

A round-up on Day 1 of the Ranji Trophy semi-finals on Sunday.

Mumbai take opening day honours

Tushar Deshpande (3/24) and Shardul Thakur (2/48) starred with the ball to put Mumbai on top following a meek display from Tamil Nadu on the opening day of their Ranji Trophy semi-final in Mumbai on Saturday.


Tamil Nadu skipper B Sai Kishore's decision to bat first backfired as the visitors were shot out for a mere 146 in the first innings with Deshpande and Thakur making life miserable for the visiting batters at the BKC Ground in suburban Mumbai.

If it was any consolation, Tamil Nadu struck twice with the ball but Mumbai shaved off a significant chunk of first-innings deficit, reaching 45/2 at stumps to trail by another 101 runs.

Musheer Khan (24 not out) and nightwatchman Mohit Avasthi (1) were at the crease with Mumbai losing openers Prithvi Shaw (5) and Bhupen Lalwani (15).

Shaw fell early against Kuldeep Sen, while Sai Kishore trapped Lalwani for the second wicket, but Mumbai remained on top.

On a track which had movement off the surface as well as turn for spinners, Mumbai proved to be the superior side given their bowlers extracted more support and their batters did not find getting runs as tough as the visitors.

Tamil Nadu, shellshocked by a disastrous start to their first semi-final in seven years, could not muster the courage to stage a fightback and folded shortly after tea despite Vijay Shankar (44) and Washington Sundar's (43) rearguard act.

The horror began when B Sai Sudharsan was trapped leg-before on the fourth ball of the match by Shardul Thakur and it did not take long for the Mumbai bowlers to get all over the Tamil Nadu side in the first hour.

Mumbai bowlers exploited the early moisture with the new ball to perfection as Mohit Avasthi had TN's leading run-maker N Jagadeesan (4) caught at short leg by Musheer Khan.

Coming in as first change, Deshpande remained unplayable throughout the innings for the Tamil Nadu batters.

Pradosh Ranjan Paul's bat curled in his hands as he hit one straight to Despande, who took a fine return catch for the third wicket.

It was a brave call for skipper R Sai Kishore to promote himself ahead of the dependable Baba Indrajith but one that did not work.

Sai Kishore's footwork was all over the place when Deshpande pitched one in line of the stumps to move the ball back in, pegging back the middle-stump as Tamil Nadu slumped to 17/4.

Tamil Nadu's hopes of a revival took a body blow when Indrajith (11) was caught at short midwicket with Tanush Kotian (2/10) taking a sharp diving catch in front of him to leave the visitors reeling.

Shankar and Sundar fought well on either side of the lunch break but the pitch did not relent in giving support to the Mumbai bowlers.

Shankar, who began well with a flurry of fours, was tested consistently outside the off-stump by Deshpande, who kept moving the ball away from the right-hander.

Deshpande's hard work resulted in a breakthrough for Thakur who had Shankar caught at the second slip by Shams Mulani for a 109-ball 44 which featured eight fours.

Having shown a little interest in getting runs, Shankar's departure forced Sundar to get a move on.

While he was mostly resolute in defence, Sundar also had luck favouring him twice. An outside edge off Shardul had Shreyas Iyer spilling a tough chance on 11 and when he reached 37, Musheer spilled a catch at cover.

Mohammed Mohammed smacked three fours in a row of Thakur towards the end to make it 22 runs from one over, which gave a big push to the visitor's total.

Brief scores: Tamil Nadu 146 in 64.1 overs (Vijay Shankar 44, Washington Sundar 43; Shardul Thakur 2/48, Tushar Deshpande 3/24, Tanush Kotian 2/10) vs Mumbai 45/2 in 17 overs.

Avesh's four-wicket haul puts MP in control

IMAGE: MP's pacer Avesh Khan celebrates with team-mates after taking a wicket against Vidarbha during their Ranji Trophy semi-final in Nagpur. Photograph: BCCI Domestic/X

Avesh Khan-led Madhya Pradesh pace bowling unit hit right lengths on a pitch that offered enough carry to bowl out Vidarbha for a meagre 170 on day one to gain control of their Ranji Trophy semi-final match in Nagpur on Saturday.

Avesh (4/49) was the pick of MP bowlers, while receiving good support from Kulwant Khejroliya (2/38) and Venkatesh Iyer (2/28).

Madhya Pradesh reached 47/1 in their first innings at close, and trail by 123 runs.

The VCA Stadium deck wore such fine green tinge as MP employed spin for just 2.4 overs in a total of 56.4 overs they bowled on the day.

Left-arm spinner Kumar Kartikeya, who dismissed last man Umesh Yadav, did the spinner's duty for a brief period. The other spinners in their ranks like offie Saransh Jain remained spectators of the proceedings.

Vidarbha's feeble fight came through Karun Nair, who made 63 (105 balls, 9x4).

India pacer Avesh gave MP a fine start to the match when he uprooted the stumps of opener Dhruv Shorey (13).

Vidarbha lost wickets at regular intervals from that point and their biggest partnership was a 36 between Atharva Taide (39) and Aman Mokhade (13) for the second wicket.

It came in almost 16 overs but the home side failed to capitalise on all the hard work.

Taide, who made a gritty hundred against Karnataka in the quarterfinals, snicked Iyer to stumper Himanshu Mantri who took a lovely tumbling catch behind the first slip.

It brought Karun, Vidarbha's highest run-getter so far this season, to the middle and he played a fine innings filled with those typical drives and cuts.

But the right-hander did not find support from the other end as Avesh dismissed a stubborn Mokhade.

The hosts soon lost Yash Rathod, bowled by Iyer, and skipper Akshay Wadkar in the space of five runs to slip to 106 for five. The catch Yash Dubey took at gully off pacer Khejroliya to oust Wadkar was a stunning one. He made a low-dive to his left to pouch a screamer as Wadkar tried to steer the ball from outside the off-stump.

Vidarbha's hopes of reaching at least 200 was dashed when Karun dragged a Khejroliya delivery to his stumps while attempting a pull.

However, the Vidarbha bowlers were not as accurate as their MP counterparts as the visiting batters saw off the day without any alarm.

The lone jarring note was the dismissal of Dubey who feathered an edge off Umesh to Wadkar behind the stumps.

Brief Scores: Vidarbha 170 all out in 56.4 overs (Karun Nair 63, Atharva Taide 39; Avesh Khan 4/49) vs Madhya Pradesh 47/1 in 20 overs (Himanshu Mantri 26 not out).

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