Mushtaq Ali Trophy: Tamil Nadu crash out

In the end, it was a case of ‘so near yet so far’ for Tamil Nadu. R. Satish & Co. won its final Group ‘A’ fixture, against Hyderabad, in comprehensive fashion on Sunday but could not progress to the Super League of the Syed Mushtaq Ali on account of an inferior net run-rate (NRR) compared to Gujarat.

Tamil Nadu spinner Rahil Shah in action.   -  K. V. S. Giri (File Photo)

In the end, it was a case of ‘so near yet so far’ for Tamil Nadu. R. Satish & Co. won its final Group ‘A’ fixture, against Hyderabad, in comprehensive fashion on Sunday but could not progress to the Super League of the Syed Mushtaq Ali on account of an inferior net run-rate (NRR) compared to Gujarat.

Tamil Nadu, which chose to field at the Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium at Jamtha, restricted Hyderabad to 140 for eight. Seamer J. Kousik (3-0-20-3), and spinners Rahil Shah (4-0-15-2) and M. Ashwin (4-0-18-3) were the star performers. Four of the top five batsmen then shared the burden as the ‘Yellow Brigade’ won by four wickets to accumulate 16 points from six games. Its NRR read +1.136.

Alas, it wasn’t enough as Gujarat hammered Haryana in double-quick time at the Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium at Civil Lines. First, Rudra Pratap Singh (4-0-16-3) and Jasprit Bumrah (4-0-10-3) combined well to dismiss the opposition for just 95. Then, Parthiv Patel (51 n.o., 20b, 8x4, 2x6) and Rohit Dahiya (40 n.o., 15b, 6x4, 2x6) smashed those runs in just 6.4 overs for a nine-wicket victory and, more importantly, a superior NRR (+1.559).

Left ruing by its shocking defeats to Vidarbha and Himachal Pradesh in the competition, the Tamil Nadu team’s collective eyes, incidentally, were on these very teams. They were hoping for a Vidarbha defeat, but a narrow one, so as to stay ahead of Himachal Pradesh on the NRR. That wasn’t to be as the hosts secured their fifth win on the trot with a 27-run submission of Himachal Pradesh in second match of the day at Civil Lines. And as a result, Vidarbha topped the group with 20 points (+0.017).

Opener Jitesh Sharma helped himself to a stroke-filled 106 (65b, 12x4, 3x6) as Vidarbha posted 183 for six. Off-spinner Akshay Wakhare (4-0-18-4) then led the way as Himachal Pradesh was bowled out for 156 in the last over.

Sunday’s defeat marked the end of an underwhelming season for Tamil Nadu. It failed to make the quarterfinal stage of the Ranji Trophy, lost to eventual champion Gujarat in the semifinal of the Vijay Hazare Trophy and crashed out of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy with a third-place finish in Group ‘A’.

>Hyderabad lost to Tamil Nadu (Final Scorecard and ball-by-ball details)

>Haryana lost to Gujarat (Final Scorecard and ball-by-ball details)

>Vidarbha beat Himachal Pradesh (Final Scorecard and ball-by-ball details)

The following teams qualified for the Super League of the Sued Mushtaq Ali Trophy, to be played in Mumbai from January 15 to January 20

Group ‘A’: Vidarbha, Gujarat

Group ‘B’: Kerala, Jharkhand

Group ‘C’: Delhi, Baroda

Group ‘D’: Uttar Pradesh, Mumbai