Mushtaq Ali Trophy: Tamil Nadu back on top

At the Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium in Civil Lines on Thursday, Abhinav Mukund boosted his T20 credentials with an authoritative 67 not out (36b, 7x4, 3x6) as Tamil Nadu thumped Gujarat by nine wickets to reclaim the top spot in Group ‘A’ of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy.

Tamil Nadu opener Abhinav Mukund in action.   -  K. Murali Kumar (File photo)

Abhinav Mukund’s affinity for the longer format of the game is well-documented. At 26 — his birthday was on Wednesday — the southpaw has already amassed 7,424 runs in 106 first-class matches. And with 2,931 runs in 60 innings, his record in List A cricket is no less prolific.

At the Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium in Civil Lines on Thursday, Mukund boosted his T20 credentials with an authoritative 67 not out (36b, 7x4, 3x6) as Tamil Nadu thumped Gujarat by nine wickets to reclaim the top spot in Group ‘A’ of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy.

R. Satish (4-013-2), W. Antony Das (4-0-19-3) and Rahil Shah (3.4-0-26-2) restricted the opposition to 105 for nine in 19.4 overs. But Tamil Nadu still had to score those runs, and the manner in which Mukund went about his business was noteworthy, especially after R. P. Singh snared Dinesh Karthik (4) early.

Mukund found an able ally in B. Aparajith (30 n.o., 31b, 1x4, 1x6), and the duo took Tamil Nadu over the finish line with more than eight overs to spare. Their 99-run stand came off just 10.2 overs.

The highlight of Mukund’s knock was an 18-run caning he inflicted on left-arm spinner Hardik Patel. Comfortably placed at 81 for one after 11 overs, Mukund smashed Patel for a clean six down the ground before collecting boundaries off the last three deliveries to register his second fifty in the format. He also hit the winning runs — a classic step-out-and-loft for six over long-on.

Gujarat and Vidarbha also have 12 points each, but Tamil Nadu’s superior net run-rate (+1.887) keeps them on top.

Earlier, 20-year-old Raxlee Taylor (44 n.o., 38b, 4x4, 1x6) gave a good account of himself. Gujarat was dealt a blow when opener Priyank Panchal retired hurt. When Parthiv Patel hit the first ball of the match in the direction of his partner, bowler Satish rushed to fetch it, and thudded into the 25-year-old. Panchal fell down and injured his hamstring. He was escorted off the field. Gujarat’s woes were compounded after Parthiv (4) had a rare off day.

Vidarbha makes it three in a row, Himachal wins a nail-biter

Skipper Faiz Fazal hit a composed 49 (44b, 1x4, 2x6) and Apoorv Wankhade scored an unbeaten 37 (27b, 4x4) as host Vidarbha beat Bengal by four wickets to notch up its third straight victory.

Akshay Chauhan picked up three wickets and then scored 15 runs off seven balls as Himachal Pradesh beat Haryana in a game which went down to the wire. Amit Mishra led Haryana in place of Virender Sehwag, who flew back home after falling ill. Haryana have lost all four games.

>Tamil Nadu bt Gujarat (Full scorecard and ball-by-ball details)

>Vidarbha bt Bengal (Full scorecard and ball-by-ball details)

>Himachal Pradesh bt Haryana (Full scorecard and ball-by-ball details)