CHENNAI: Tamil Nadu have been one of the form teams in the ongoing Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy tournament. After winning all five of their league games, they beat Himachal Pradesh to advance to the semifinals of the domestic T20 meet. In the last four stage, they will play Rajasthan on Friday in Ahmedabad. That they have won six in as many games when they have players missing is an indication of their bench strength. They also hold the edge against Friday's opposition, who possess Khaleel Ahmed, Aniket Choudhary, Ravi Bishnoi and Chandrapal Singh among others in their ranks.
What has helped go on this run is their capacity to take one match at a time, according to their coach, D Vasu. "It is a fantastic show by the team. Without many key players, we managed to win all the games. We took one match at a time and that helped us perform as a unit. We are confident that we will do well in the semifinals too. Credit to the boys to have come out with such a stupendous show. We are not overconfident, but are pretty well aware that if we play to potential results will come,'' he said.
His message to the team is not to lose early wickets. "Yes, we are aware that they have a good attack. They have a couple of guys who can operate the new ball well. So it is very important for us to not lose wickets in the powerplay. I expect the boys to give a good start before consolidating,'' the former NCA coach opined.
Even if they have good batsmen in the form of Mahipal Lomror, Ashok Menaria, Bharath Sharma and Ankit Lamba, Vasu is backing his bowlers to do the business. "We are not worried about their batting. We can manage as we have a lot of variety in our attack and depth in our batting. As I said earlier, we must handle powerplay efficiently."
One of TN's above-mentioned absences, Sandeep Warrier, who has joined up with the Indian contingent in Chennai, could be a big blow. But Vasu said it could open the door for a replacement to put his hands up. "Sandeep has left to join the Indian team as a net bowler. We have not yet decided who will replace him. It is an opportunity for another bowler to impress and grab the spot."