CHENNAI: A well made 86 by Abhinav Mukund and an unbeaten fighting 61 from their No 6 N Jagadeesan helped Tamil Nadu to 250/7 on Day 1 of their last Ranji Trophy league fixture against Saurashtra at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Rajkot.
Tamil Nadu, who need a win with bonus point to keep their slim hopes of making it to the quarterfinals alive, had no hesitation to bat first on a track that has usually aided run scoring with wear and tear coming into play later in the game.
Abhinav continuing his fine form stitched 49 runs for the first wicket with L Suryapprakash and 53 runs for the second wicket with Kaushik Gandhi as Tamil Nadu went about building a big score on a cautious note. Though Suryapprakash and Gandhi batted with caution, runs flowed freely of Abhinav’s bat whose 112-ball innings included 10 fours and a six.
Though Jaydev Unadkat, who missed Saurashtra’s previous match against Mumbai with a niggle, made his return for this fixture despite quarters berth already being secured, he wasn’t effective with the new ball.
But the left-arm seamer showed his calibre when Saurashtra badly needed him. With TN on course for a big total, he came back with the old-ball to reverse their fortunes. After dismissing V Ganga Sridhar Raju via LBW, he did the same against Abhinav.
Those twin blows left Tamil Nadu rebuild again. Though stand-in captain Baba Aparajith got the start, he fell for 20 to the left-arm spin of Chirag Jani. And with RS Jaganath Sinivas departing soon after, Tamil Nadu were 181/6.
However, Jagadeesan then found an able ally in R Sai Kishore. With the left-arm spinner once again willing to hang around, Jagadeesan showed composure to stretch the total. Jagadeesan’s 61 was a knock that relied more on boundaries as it already has 10 boundaries. The 62-run stand between them helped the team recover as they aim to post at least 300 on board.
Though Saurashtra’s progress is already ensured, it will be interesting to see how they go about their business on Thursday. As far as Tamil Nadu are concerned, their eyes will be on clash going on in Bengaluru. Apart from needing a win, they also need Baroda to beat Karnataka and that looks unlikely as the hosts have already taken 80-run lead with three wickets remaining after bundling out their opponents for 85.