Shardul lords it over Tamil Nadu in Ranji semi-final

Thakur’s hundred was the game changer on Day 2 of the Ranji Trophy semi- final. Source( X)

Shardul Thakur emerges as the beacon of brilliance for Mumbai on Day 2 of the Ranji Trophy showdown against Tamil Nadu, crafting a mesmerising innings of 109 runs off 105 balls that completely change the complexion of the game.

Mumbai found themselves in a precarious situation from the outset, aiming to chase down Tamil Nadu’s modest first-innings total of 146 in the Ranji Trophy semi-final at Bandra Kurla Complex. However, their quest got off to a rocky start with the early dismissal of Prithvi Shaw in just the second over. Despite his best efforts, top-order batsman Bhupen Lalwani failed to make significant contributions as well, departing for a score of 15.

U-19 World Cup sensation Musheer Khan played a gritty innings of 55 that infused much-needed energy into his team. However, Mumbai captain Ajinkya Rahane got out cheaply, scoring 19. The eagerly awaited return of Shreyas Iyer, too, turned into a tale of disappointment, as he succumbed to an exquisite delivery from Sandeep Warrier, plunging Mumbai into a precarious situation, with the atmosphere tense and the stakes high for the home team. Iyer scored three.

In came Lord Shardul, with Mumbai on 106-7 and Tamil Nadu captain Sai Kishore (6-97) making the ball talk. Shardul counter-attacked. He played cuts, drove beautifully, used his feet and got to his maiden first-class hundred with an inside-out lofted drive for a six over long-off against Ajith Ram. It was spectacular and his knock reaffirmed his knack of pulling his team out of the woods under pressure. He did it for India at the Gabba and then at the Oval. Today, he did it for Mumbai and broke into a charged-up celebration.

In other news we are gearing up for the conclave: 


Even Ravichandran Ashwin tipped his hat to a special effort despite firmly being in Tamil Nadu’s corner. “Dey lord beefy! Enough da,” tweeted the veteran off-spinner with a couple of laughing emojis.

Shardul first added 105 runs for the eighth wicket with Hardik Tamore (35) followed by a 79-run ninth wicket association with Tanush Kotian. The latter remained unbeaten on 74 as Mumbai ended Day 2 on 353-9, already a lead of 207 runs.

The game was hanging in the balance until Shardul took charge. Now, this is Mumbai’s game to lose, notwithstanding that Tamil Nadu have a good batting line-up and the hosts would be batting fourth on a tricky pitch.

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