Ranji Trophy semifinal: Shreyas Iyer in focus as Mumbai looks to derail Sai Kishore’s Tamil Nadu

Mumbai sealed a spot in the semifinals after a record last-wicket partnership helped it draw with Baroda while Tamil Nadu stunned defending champion Saurashtra with a 127-run win.

Published : Mar 01, 2024 19:11 IST , Mumbai - 2 MINS READ

It’s ironic that despite the Ranji Trophy at its business end, the prestigious tournament is in the news for all the unwanted reasons.

While non-participation of star cricketers in the premier First Class championship may have hit the headlines, the presence of multiple stars has taken the interest in a tantalising semifinal between old foes Mumbai and Tamil Nadu a notch higher.

Tamil Nadu – having seamlessly hit the top gear after a slow start to the season – has received a boost with the addition of B. Sai Sudharsan and Washington Sundar for the marquee clash.

While Sai Sudharsan joined the squad late night on Thursday after getting his back fixed at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru, Washington arrived on Thursday morning after being released from India’s Test squad.

The duo trained extensively at the Sharad Pawar Cricket Academy ground on Friday morning. At the other end of the ground, Mumbai also had a long practice session. More than the duo, Shreyas Iyer will be under the scanner over the next five days.

After having made himself unavailable for last week’s quarterfinal against Baroda and been omitted from the BCCI’s central contracts list, Shreyas will be keen on making a statement on the big occasion.

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The aggressive batter had a long batting stint in the nets on Thursday but took it easy on Friday in an optional session.

Shreyas will come into Mumbai’s XI in place of Suryansh Shedge in a direct swap. It will be interesting to see if Mumbai bring in wicketkeeper Prasad Pawar in place of opener Bhupen Lalwani.

Hardik Tamore proved his mettle with the willow in the quarterfinal but was ordinary behind the stumps, so Mumbai will be tempted to bolster its depth.

Besides Sai Sudharsan and Washington coming in for Vimal Kumar and Mohammed Ali, Tamil Nadu will also be tempted to field pacer Kuldeep Sen in place of allrounder M. Mohammed.

After all, the surface at the Bandra-Kurla Complex facility sported a green look. Unless it’s shaved off, captain R. Sai Kishore – the highest wicket-taker of the season – will know that Sen’s pace may make a difference as much as his own skilful left-arm spin.

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