Tamil Nadu's Ranji Trophy Journey Ends in Semifinal Heartbreak

Tamil Nadu’s Ranji Trophy Journey Ends in Semifinal Heartbreak

Tamil Nadu’s 2023-24 Ranji Trophy campaign ended in disappointment with a crushing innings and 70-run defeat to Mumbai in the semifinals. Despite the setback, the team can take solace in a successful season that saw them break a five-year drought of not qualifying for the knockouts.

Under the leadership of R. Sai Kishore, Tamil Nadu played an aggressive brand of cricket, securing five outright wins from nine games, including three by an innings. They maximized their strength in home conditions, with senior batters piling on the runs and spinners dominating the opposition.

N. Jagadeesan enjoyed his best Ranji season, amassing 816 runs, including a triple and double-hundred. B. Indrajith (767 runs) continued to be a reliable performer, delivering vital knocks under pressure. Vijay Shankar and Pradosh Ranjan Paul also made significant contributions with centuries.

On the bowling front, Sai Kishore emerged as a standout performer, becoming only the third TN bowler to scalp more than 50 wickets in a season. He was ably supported by Ajith Ram (41 wickets) and Sandeep Warrier (24 wickets).

However, Tamil Nadu’s technical frailties were exposed when they played on pitches that favored seamers. They suffered outright defeats in the only two games they played on such surfaces, against Gujarat and Mumbai.

Sai Kishore’s decision to bat first on a green top in the semifinal against Mumbai backfired, leading to a heavy defeat. Post-match comments by coach Sulakshan Kulkarni, who blamed the captain for losing the match at the toss, revealed a schism within the team.

Despite the loss, Tamil Nadu has a solid foundation to build upon. They have shown that they can compete with the best teams in the country, but they need to address their batting issues, particularly on seaming pitches.

Tamil Nadu's Sai Kishore Joins Elite Club with 50 Ranji Wickets

Tamil Nadu’s Sai Kishore Joins Elite Club with 50 Ranji Wickets

Tamil Nadu’s R Sai Kishore has etched his name in the annals of Ranji Trophy history by becoming only the third bowler from his state to claim 50 wickets in a single season. The left-arm spinner achieved this remarkable feat during the semifinal clash against Mumbai at the BKC Ground on Sunday.

Sai Kishore’s exceptional performance came on the back of a sterling five-wicket haul that dismantled the Mumbai middle-order on Day Two of the semifinal encounter. Despite Tamil Nadu enduring a batting collapse on the opening day, Sai Kishore’s inspired bowling performance turned the tide in his team’s favor.

The 27-year-old spinner’s pivotal role in the match was evident from the outset, as he swiftly made inroads into the Mumbai batting lineup. Trapping opener Bhupen Lalwani leg-before, Sai Kishore set the tone for his dominant display with the ball. His relentless pressure continued in the opening session, culminating in the dismissal of night-watchman Mohit Avasthi.

The defining moment of Sai Kishore’s spell arrived when he accounted for the prized wicket of Mumbai skipper Ajinkya Rahane, inducing an outside-edge that was pouched by the slip fielder. Sai Kishore capped off his virtuoso performance by claiming successive scalps in the 48th over, dismissing the well-set Musheer Khan and then dismantling Shams Mulani’s stumps with a vicious delivery that spun sharply.

Sai Kishore’s sensational form in the ongoing Ranji Trophy season has been nothing short of remarkable. With at least four wickets in each of his last four innings, including a stellar nine-wicket haul in the quarterfinal against Saurashtra, the left-arm spinner has emerged as a potent force in Tamil Nadu’s bowling arsenal.

By joining the esteemed company of legendary spinners S Venkataraghavan and Aashish Kapoor, Sai Kishore has solidified his status as one of the premier bowlers in domestic cricket. His 10th First-Class five-for across 39 matches underscores his consistency and impact on the field.

With six four-wicket hauls and three five-fors in the ongoing Ranji season, Sai Kishore’s stellar performances exemplify his unwavering commitment to excellence and his invaluable contributions to Tamil Nadu’s quest for glory in the prestigious tournament.

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