CHENNAI: It was a case of so near yet so far as Tamil Nadu missed out on a golden opportunity to register their first win of the season in the Ranji Trophy. Chhattisgarh's tail once again wagged and put up a stubborn effort and were 172 for 8 in 76 overs in their second essay as the match ended in a draw at the Nehru Stadium in Guwahati on Sunday.
Forced to follow-on by Tamil Nadu, Harpreet Singh, skipper of Chhattisgarh once again showed a lot of grit to remain undefeated on 43. He got good support from Shashank Singh who made a valuable 67 to help Chhattisgarh reduce the deficit.
Tamil Nadu began the day requiring 12 wickets for a win. They first picked up two wickets in the morning to bundle out Chhattisgarh for 304 runs in their first essay.
Following on, Chhattisgarh were in shambles at 65 for 5, with Tamil Nadu spinners M Siddharth, B Aparajith and Sai Kishore sharing the spoils.
Thereafter, Shashank and Harpreet added 94 runs for the sixth wicket which dented the prospects for Tamil Nadu to post an outright win.
“First, I want to compliment our bowlers who did a good job on a track that did not behave like a fourth day wicket. Taking 12 wickets in a day with breaks and change of innings was never going to be easy. Our boys fought well. Two sessions in the match did not go our way. Some of the decisions on the final day too did not go our way, otherwise we would have got 6 points," said M Venkataramana, head coach of Tamil Nadu.
Shashank played boldly, carting Sai Kishore thrice over the ropes. Harpreet was resolute, stubborn and keen not to lose his wicket till the end. Even the lower-order who did not open their account managed to play out five overs among themselves which was crucial in such a close game.
“It was a very close game. It happens. Our bowlers bowled with a lot of intent which is important. They bowled their hearts out for a victory. As I said earlier, had a few decisions come our way we could have won. In hindsight, had we not lost time on the third day due to wet outfield, perhaps we could have won," opined the former NCA bowling coach.
In the next match against Jharkhand, Tamil Nadu need to register an outright win to make it to the next stage. They also have to wait for other results to favour their cause.
“Yes, we are aware of the task before us. First, we will relax a bit after a hectic day. We will then do a postmortem of the match and think of areas we need to work on for our next game. The boys showed a lot of intent against Chhattisgarh. The next match is at the same venue. So we have a feel of the conditions and according to our opposition we will work out plans," he signed off.