Ranji Trophy: TN put up brave show before running out of time

Experienced pros B Indrajith (98) and Vijay Shankar (60) were the standouts during the day.
B Indrajith was leading scorer for Tamil Nadu on Monday, Feb 12, 2024.
B Indrajith was leading scorer for Tamil Nadu on Monday, Feb 12, 2024.(Photo | D Sampathkumar, EPS)

CHENNAI: It was a case of so near yet so far for Tamil Nadu on Monday.In what would have been one of their best chases in the Ranji Trophy history in recent times, their batters showed a lot of grit to get very close to the finish line against Karnataka on Day 4 at the MA Chidambaram Stadium here.

However, it was not to be as they ran out of time. It was certainly a thrilling finish and a good advertisement for the four-day game. Set a target of 355 by the visitors, Tamil Nadu eventually fell short by 17 runs and were forced to settle for a draw. Tamil Nadu were 338 for 8 when play ended.

Experienced pros B Indrajith (98) and Vijay Shankar (60) were the standouts during the day. Both played sensible cricket to keep TN’s fire burning during the chase.

Chasing a stiff target on a final-day wicket against a quality opposition like Karnataka was always going to be a tricky proposal. Bearing that in mind, TN initially opted to play cautiously. Pradosh Ranjan Paul, who scored 74, and opener Vimal Khumar (31) were highly watchful and were predominantly content with singles while notching up an odd boundary or two.

Karnataka skipper Mayank Agarwal tested the patience of the duo by shuffling his bowlers and setting up an attacking field. That paid off as Vimal fell to the guile of Sashi Kumar. After Indrajith’s arrival, the run-rate started rising. Both Indrajith and Pradosh were dealing with the Karnataka bowlers with ease. Just when things were going well, Pradosh was dismissed as he failed to read a sharp delivery from Vijaykumar Vyshak with Devdutt Padikkal making no mistake in the slip cordon.

The Tamil Nadu think-tank sent Boopathi Kumar and M Mohammed before Vijay in order to up the run rate. However, that gamble failed as both perished soon. Had Vijay come in at No 4, things could have been different for the hosts. Despite coming in at No 7, Vijay gave a good account of himself. Both Indrajith and Vijay played with purpose and started scoring at a brisk pace.

Vijay put the long handle to effective use against the Karnataka spinners Shashi and Hardik Raj. Indrajith lent solid support at the other end. Once the mandatory overs began, the duo were rotating the strike and keeping the team in contention for victory. Sensing that the duo were taking the match away from them, Mayank once again became proactive and managed to apply the brakes on TN.

From the eighth mandatory over to almost till the end, there were no boundaries conceded by Karnataka key bowlers (Hardik, Vyshak). This put pressure on the TN batters as the asking rate went up. Vijay drove Vidwath Kaverappa back to him and Indrajith, in a predetermined manner, was outside the crease in anticipation of a single. Kaverappa fielded the ball and ran out Indrajith of his own bowling. Vijay also caved into pressure and holed out to Vyshak with Manish Pandey taking the skier at long on.

SELECT scores

At Thumba: Kerala 363 & 265/6 decl. bt Bengal 180 & 339 in 87.4 ovs (Shahbaz 80, Abhimanyu 65); At Vizianagaram: Andhra 261 & 429/9 in 145 ovs (Ricky 129, Rasheed 85, Nitish 53 n.o, Vihari 48; Saurabh 5/116); At Surat: Railways 297 & 208 bt Goa 200 & 242 in 65.2 ovs (Prabhudessai 67; Akash 9/71); At Chennai: Karnataka 366 & 139 drew with Tamil Nadu 151 & 338 for 8 in 105 ovs (Indrajith 98, Pradosh 74, Vijay 60; Vyshak 3/71); At Dharamsala: Delhi 264 & 381-6 decl. bt HP 319 & 250 all out in 76.4 ovs (Rishi 65, Himanshu 5/63).

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