Indian Domestic: Ranji Trophy Quarter Finals: Tamil Nadu vs Mumbai

Indian Domestic: Ranji Trophy Quarter Finals: Tamil Nadu vs Mumbai

Post by Harish Chandramoul » Tue, 19 Mar 1996 04:00:00


Tamil Nadu beats Mumbai, at last

It was a crucial toss to win on a wicket expected to deteriorate as the
match progressed. Robin Singh called right for Tamil Nadu. But when the
home team lost five wickets in the first session of the match, it seemed
a familiar story for Tamil Nadu against a team it has never beaten in 13
meetings so far, Mumbai.

But in this match Tamil Nadu found two batsmen who revealed the right
temperament. The combative skill of S. Sharath and Diwakar Vasu did
wonders for Tamil Nadu. At last, Tamil Nadu managed to turn the tables on
Mumbai, the defending champion, in a quarter final match of the Pepsi Ranji
Trophy championship.

"The grass on the outfield is fine. How nice it would have been had some
grass been left in the middle", remarked Suru Nayak, Manager of the Mumbai
side, on the eve of the match. Nayak seemed justified in his view because
Mumbai's strength in recent years lay in its pace attack.

For the match in Tirunelveli, Mumbai fielded two new ball bowlers Abey
Kuruvilla and Paras Mhambrey. But the duo could not do much on this pitch.
The Tamil Nadu attack proved far superior. D. Vasu's ability to hit the
deck helped Tamil Nadu immensely. It was an absorbing contest on the
first four days. Only on the last day Mumbai finished way behind when the
Tamil Nadu mediumpacer and skipper Robin Singh came up with an inspired

Left-handed S.Sharath played two invaluable innings for Tamil Nadu. In
the first innings he made 84 and in the second 90. He cut out the risks,
but did not spare the loose deliveries. Whenever Sharath got an
opportunity he essayed his favourite stroke, the cut. His ability to find
the gaps was exemplary.

D.Vasu proved an apt foil to Sharath in both the innings. In the first
innings Vasu made 44. In the second he scored 80, picking his runs with
forceful strokes off the back foot and rousing pulls. Sharath and Vasu
were involved in two seperate century stands in the match. Apart from the
two, the other Tamil Nadu batsman to make an impression was left handed
S.Ramesh who passed 50 in the first essay. Both Sharath and Ramesh
crossed 600 runs for the season, the latter in his very first season.

Vase gave ample evidence of his bowling prowess on a pitch suited to his
style. In the first innings he bowled 42 overs and conceded only 41 runs
for his three wickets. In the second essay Vasu dismissed Sunil More with
his very second delivery to make things easier for the home side.

After restricting Tamil Nadu to 246 Mumbai lost its way on the second
morning. The Mumbai batsmen overindulged in defence to be pushed right
back. Only two batsmen shone in Mumbai's ranks. Amol Muzumdar made 54 in
the first innings and remained not out on 58 in the second. Mumzumdar's
ability to tackle spin in an effective manner stood pronounced. Sulakshan
Kulkarni, Mumbai's best batsman for the season, remained not out on 84 in
the first innings. In the second innings, he fell to a 'shooter' from
Robin Singh. Robin bowled splendidly, stump to stump, and allowed the
pitch to do the rest.

The rival players exchanged sharp words on the field on almost all the
days. The umpires Messrs Narendra Menon (MP) and Shekhon (Punjab) had to
be vigilant right through. The absence of an observer was keenly felt.
According to the organisers, Sarkar Talwar of Haryana had been named the
observer. But when contacted Talwar replied that he had not been informed
of the job by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

In the end both Robin Singh and Suru Nayak agreed that the Tamil Nadu
bowlers bowled better in the match. The toss proved crucial. Sharath and
Vasu showed discipline in their approach on a pitch whcih was not all
that conducive for stroke-play. Mr. Nayak admitted that "this Mumbai side
did not have enough batting experience to cope with the conditions". The
victory should do a world of good to the confidence of the Tamil Nadu

                                        P.V. Vaidyanathan
                                        The Sportstar, 16/03/1996.