Hyderabad is back in the Elite Group of Ranji Trophy after drubbing Nagaland by an innings and 68 runs on the third day of the five-day Ranji Trophy Plate Group semifinal at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium here on Sunday.
The two finalists - the other one being Meghalaya, which scored an outright win against Mizoram in the other semifinal - are assured of a place in the Elite Group next year by making it to the final of the Plate Group.
It was once again a splendid performance by left-arm spinner Tanay Thyagarajan, who completed his maiden 10-wicket haul in the Ranji Trophy (13 for 144), which was the major factor in Hyderabad’s impressive performance on Sunday.
The 28-year-old Tanay meant business straight away in the morning session, sending back three batters Yugandhar Singh, captain Rongsen Jonathan and R.S. Jaganath Srinivas in a quick session to reduce Nagaland to 23 for four in the 12th over.
Tanay consistently spun the ball away from the batters with a teasing line and length to trouble the batters.
Just when there were doubts whether Nagaland’s innings would last till the lunch break, a fighting, fifth-wicket partnership of 127 runs between Sedezhalie Rupero (59, 154, 8x41x6) and Sumit Kumar (86, 115b, 10x4, 2x6) gave a glimmer of hope for their team to make the home team bat again and also put a serious test to Hyderabad bowling attack.
The two batted with the desired discipline and even essayed some huge hits, with Sumit being the more belligerent, hitting two massive sixes and a four, in one over off Tanay.
But, Hyderabad captain Tilak Varma, with his off-spin, broke the partnership when he had Sedezhalie bowled trying to cut one close to the stumps and later had the dangerous Sumit trapped lbw, a decision which had the batter terribly disappointed.
After these two big blows reduced Nagaland to 177 for seven in the 54th over, the rest was a formality, and Tanay was in a hurry to mop up the tail with no resistance and was ably supported by the close-in fielders with Tanmay Agarwal being just brilliant.
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