CHENNAI: Tamil Nadu suffered a shock loss in Vijay Hazare Trophy on Sunday, being bested by Jammu & Kashmir with four wickets to spare at MA Chidambaram Stadium. This despite the home team fielding four internationals in the clash. The loss left Tamil Nadu’s chances of making it to the quarterfinals hanging in the balance. “We knew that we had to win the last two games to move to next phase. Not being able to that really hurts. Qualifying was in our hands. We failed to raise the bar when it mattered most. It was a collective failure,’’ said skipper Vijay Shankar.
“It is difficult to defend such a small total on any wicket. It is not that our bowlers struggled. It is that we did not bat well. Once in, our batsmen had carried the game forward in the last few games. Unfortunately, we could not do it today.”
Why is it that Tamil Nadu repeatedly fail to make an impact at Chepauk, their home ground?
“You see, in every game here, there is some dampness in the morning, which makes the pitch a bit sticky. It is not easy for batsmen to play the shots. It is very important for set batsmen to try and stay till the end. We couldn’t do that today,” explained the lanky all-rounder.
Though a few batsmen kept delivering the goods for Tamil Nadu, their overall batting line-up didn’t click as a unit.”We learnt from our mistakes against Gujarat and improved. Even against Jharkhand, while chasing a 300-plus target, we fought well. The Gujarat game and today’s game against J&K were failures. But in the rest of the games, we did well,” remarked Vijay.
“Last year, after the first four games, I did not play the rest of the season. This year, after I missed two games, I did. I think I batted reasonably well. This year, we played better than last year. Despite that, we failed to qualify. That really hurts. We cannot complain about the wickets, as we know these conditions well. It was a collective failure, and we hope to do better in the rest of the season.”
Meanwhile, J&K’s player-cum-mentor Irfan Pathan said that this victory was a much-needed silver lining for his team.“The biggest plus is that we bowled them out. This is the kind of win we want for our boys. It is a good learning curve for them,” Pathan said.