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<p>Mumbai advanced to their 48th Ranji Trophy final here today thanks to an outstanding innings and 70-run victory against an inept Tamil Nadu in only three days, mostly because of Shardul Thakur’s all-around skill.</p>
<p><img decoding=”async” class=”alignnone wp-image-474656″ src=”https://www.theindiaprint.com/wp-content/uploads/2024/03/theindiaprint.com-ultimate-location-2024-3largeimg-68452542.jpg” alt=”theindiaprint.com ultimate location 2024 3largeimg 68452542″ width=”1079″ height=”731″ title=”ultimate location 6″ srcset=”https://www.theindiaprint.com/wp-content/uploads/2024/03/theindiaprint.com-ultimate-location-2024-3largeimg-68452542.jpg 670w, https://www.theindiaprint.com/wp-content/uploads/2024/03/theindiaprint.com-ultimate-location-2024-3largeimg-68452542-220×150.jpg 220w” sizes=”(max-width: 1079px) 100vw, 1079px” /></p>
<p>Following his incredible 109 on the second day, which gave the 41-time winners a commanding 232-run advantage, Thakur unsettled the top-order of TN with two wickets, forcing the visitors to be bowled out for 162 in their semifinal second innings.</p>
<p>While the middle order collapsed and several top-order batsmen stepped back without making a major impact, Baba Indrajith (70) fought alone for TN.</p>
<p>Nevertheless, Indrajith and Pradosh Ranjan Paul put up a fight, scoring 73 runs together for the fourth wicket.</p>
<p>Thakur’s outstanding performance (109, 2/48, and 2/16) was the driving force behind Mumbai’s victory. Making his first century across forms, he guided them back into the game from a dangerous 106/7 in the first inning to a comfortable lead.</p>
<p>Day 3 began with Thakur taking two wickets quickly, setting the tone and enabling Mumbai to reduce the visitors to 10/3.</p>
<p>B Shreyas Iyer gave Sai Sudharsan a break at midwicket, letting him spill a sitter, but Thakur caught the left-handed opener behind with an excellent inswinger that got an inside edge.</p>
<p>With the next ball, Thakur took a risky swing and removed N. Jagadeesan for a seven-ball duck.</p>
<p>The success that Pacer Mohit Avasthi experienced came from having Washington Sundar, who was moved up to No. 3, followed by Hardik Tamore.</p>
<p>Recovery was an enormous chore for TN after the top-order was destroyed, but Indrajith and Paul performed a great job of attacking the opponents and keeping their side in the game.</p>
<p>To secure the victory for the home team, spinners Tanush Kotian (2/18) and Shams Mulani (4/53) combined with pacers to inflict more suffering on the TN batting team. Together, they shared the last six wickets.</p>
<p>“I am contributing well and going as far into the game as I can. Shardul bats at number nine in our deep batting order, according to Kotian.</p>
<p>“Our team has made runs down the order; most of the time, we were 100 for 5, but we are confident that we can reach 400 or 450.” Both Tushar (Deshpande) and Mohit (Avasthi) are skilled batters. We are confident in our ability to play session after session,” Kotian said.</p>
<p><strong>Rises Rathod for Vidarbha</strong></p>
<p>Nagpur: On the third day of their semifinal, Vidarbha pulled off an incredible comeback to defeat Madhya Pradesh 343/6 in their second innings because of a brash unbeaten 97 by Yash Rathod.</p>
<p>As the hosts rallied from a precarious 161/5, Rathod, who faced 165 balls, had outstanding assistance from skipper Akshay Wadkar (77 off 139 balls). Together, the two contributed 158 runs for the sixth-wicket partnership. Vidarbha had a comfortable 261-run advantage.</p>
<p>When Vidarbha lost nightwatchman Akshay Wakhare in the second over of the day after starting at 13/1, Dhruv Shorey (40 off 65 balls) and Aman Mokhade (59 off 100 balls) produced 84 runs for the third wicket, signaling the first sign of resistance. But when he forced Himanshu Mantri to take action behind the stumps by inducing an edge from Shorey, left-arm spinner Kumar Kartikeya broke the partnership.</p>
<p>At that point, Vidarbha was at 90/3. They subsequently lost Mokhade and Karun Nair (38), leaving them at 161/5 and just 79 runs ahead.</p>
<p>Brief scores: Mumbai: 378 all out in 106.5 overs (Kotian 89*, Musheer 55, Shardul 109; Sai Kishore 6/99); Vidarbha: 170 & 343/6 in 90 overs (Rathod 97*, Wadkar 77, Mokhade 59, Shorey 40; Anubhav 2/68) vs. MP: 252. TN: 146 and 162 in 51.5 overs (Indrajith 70; Shardul 2/16, Mulani 4/53, Kotian 2/18).</p>
<p><strong>Day 1’s first hour was gone, according to TN coach Kulkarni.</strong></p>
<p>Mumbai: Although captain R Sai Kishore’s intuition has been crucial in leading Tamil Nadu to this far, Sulakshan Kulkarni, the coach of Tamil Nadu, said today that Kishore made the incorrect choice to bat on a seaming pitch against Mumbai in the semifinal.</p>
<p>On a seaming track that had Tamil Nadu reeling at 42/5 during the first session, Sai Kishore sent his team in to bat first. It turned out to be an unexpected move that elicited comments from R Ashwin and Saurashtra’s Jaydev Unadkat.</p>
<p>After being bowled out for meager totals of 146 and 162 in the first two innings, Tamil Nadu was never able to rally. “I knew exactly what we were going to get the moment I saw the wicket,” Kulkarni said. “I realized that this is a seaming-friendly wicket and it was going to be a very tough match; we would have to play really well to win this game when I saw that they had played on a different pitch in the quarterfinal and what wicket they gave.” I usually say things straightforwardly: on Day 1, we lost the match at nine o’clock.</p>
<p><strong>Ranji final will be hosted at Wankhede</strong></p>
<p>Mumbai: The Mumbai Cricket Association announced today that the Ranji Trophy final of this season would take place from March 10 to 14 at the Wankhede Stadium here. Mumbai will play the victorious team from the semifinal match between Madhya Pradesh and Vidarbha at the VCA Ground. Mumbai made the statement after the final.</p>


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