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Ranji Trophy: Mumbai pacers hunt in a pack, dismiss Tamil Nadu for 146

Deshpande and Thakur struck vital blows as TN were 146 all out; in reply, Mumbai were 45/2 at stumps on Day 1 of the Ranji semi-finals at the BKC ground

The advantage of playing on home ground is that one knows exactly how to make the best use of the conditions. Having got to bowl first

Mumbai’s Shardul Thakur celebrates with teammates after taking the wicket of Tamil Nadu’s Vijay Shankar(PTI)

at the Bandra Kurla Complex ground in their Ranji Trophy semi-final against Tamil Nadu on Saturday, the Mumbai pace attack exploited the early life in the pitch to seize the initiative.

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Tushar Deshpande, Shardul Thakur and Mohit Avasthi hunted as a pack to bundle out Tamil Nadu for 146 in 64.1 overs. Thakur took

2/48 in 14 overs, Deshpande 3/24 in 12 overs and Avasthi picked up an early wicket. Spinners Musheer Khan and Tanush Kotian then ran through the tail with two wickets each.

Only all-rounders Vijay Shankar (44 runs) and Washinton Sundar (43) showed resistance for Tamil Nadu.

In reply, Mumbai were 45/2 at stumps. Kuldeep Sen bowled a sharp opening over to get dangerous opener Prithvi Shaw caught at slips, but young Musheer Khan was batting on 24.

The pitch had a tinge of grass and the home team knew there would be moisture early on. Thakur and company exploited it with the new ball to provide a dream start to their team. The key aspects to do that is accuracy, bowling within oneself and hitting the right areas.

Thakur set the tone with a wicket off his fourth ball, nailing opener R Sai Sudharsan with his incoming ball to a left-handed batter. TN’s other opener was also back in the hut soon after turning Avasthi’s incoming ball into the hands of short-leg fielder Musheer.


Coming in first change replacing Thakur, Deshpande kept up the pressure. He bowled a searing opening spell of seven overs and ran through the middle order with a three-wicket burst.

He also struck in his first over when he lured TN No.3 Pradosh Ranjan Paul into offering a tame return catch. The well-built pace

bowler followed it up with a beauty to pierce the defence of skipper R Sai Kishore and peg back his middle-stump. When the in-form Baba Indrajith hit uppishly to be caught at mid-on by a diving Tanush Kotian, TN were in deep trouble, having lost their top five batters cheaply.


The sixth-wicket pair of Washington Sundar and Vijay Shankar though adopted a disciplined approach and tried to resurrect the

innings. It was tough work. There was seam movement even after the shine had worn off. Washington edged an Avasthi delivery through gully for four. They just looked to play out the period. The scoreboard hardly moved and after 30 overs it was 68/5.

There was no let-up on the pressure from Mumbai pacers. Thakur bowled a solid six-over spell post lunch to provide the big breakthrough.

He set up Vijay by pitching in and around off-stump and his fourth over of the spell the batter poked at a fuller ball to be caught at slips. Vijay and Washington together played out more than 31 overs, but their partnership could produce just 48 runs and

TN were 90/6. Washington tried to wage a lone battle, but Mumbai spinners wiped out the tail with rapid strikes.

Deshpande said Mumbai’s bowling display was about teamwork and not getting carried away by the helpful conditions. “We assess

the pitch the day before and make plans. On this pitch it was (about bowling) a bit fuller around the off-stump, channel bowling as we say. It is always easy for the bowler to get carried away by the bounce and carry, which looks good from outside but the

effect which the good length ball gives is not there on that ball. On such a pitch, the more effective you bowl the more wickets you will get,” he said, expressing surprise by Tamil Nadu’s decision to bat on a seaming track.

The three Mumbai pacers complemented each other, sticking to their roles to provide Mumbai a dream start to the five-day game.

“No one bowls loose deliveries that you can score off easily. (It’s not a case of) I will go for my wickets; everyone sticks to

the team’s plan and it is bowling in the right areas. Shardul’s experience always helps, and when things are not going our way, there are always some tips from him and we try and apply it.”

Vijay Shankar defended the decision to bat first; he said their spin attack will be a handful in the fourth innings.


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