Ranji Trophy: Saurabh Tiwary guides Jharkhand to two-wicket win over TN

The win marked a sensational turnaround for Jharkhand after losing the first match to Chhattisgarh by eight wickets before beating Delhi by 15 runs in its second match.

Jharkhand captain Saurabh Tiwary was declared man of the match.   -  RITU RAJ KONWAR

Saurabh Tiwary led from the front with a brilliant 93 (195b, 6x4, 1x6) to guide Jharkhand to a thrilling two-wicket win over Tamil Nadu in the final Group H league match and take his side to the knockouts of the Ranji Trophy here at the Nehru Stadium on Sunday.

The win marked a sensational turnaround for Jharkhand after losing the first match to Chhattisgarh by eight wickets before beating Delhi by 15 runs in its second match.

In the other match, Chhattisgarh had to settle for a draw against Delhi despite enforcing the follow-on allowing Jharkhand to top the group with 12 points to the former’s 10.

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Resuming at 102 for four on the final day, Tiwary and Kumar Kushagra, who made his maiden First-Class fifty took the game away from TN with their 90-run stand for the fifth wicket.

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Tiwary, who is known for his big-hitting abilities, played within himself shunning any expansive shots and kept picking the gaps for easy singles.

It is here TN lost a trick in allowing the two batters to rotate strike easily without risks.

After a watchful few overs, the 17-year-old Kushagra playing only in his second First-Class match,  hit two consecutive boundaries against Sandeep Warrier, one through covers and one straight through mid-on to start the day.

He then tucked one of his pads off Sai Kishore through the fine leg, before picking a single to get his half-century.

TN got an opening when Kushagra mistimed a pull of Siddharth and top-edged it to the mid-on fielder.

The next batter, Virat Singh quickly hit three boundaries against the spinners putting the pressure back on TN before Aparajith chipped in with two quick wickets.

However, Tiwary, who top-scored with 58 in the first innings, held fort at one end and took the team to 190 for 7 at lunch.

In the first over after lunch, the left-hander hit Siddharth for two boundaries and then played a beautiful straight drive off Sandeep Warrier to bring down the target to just 10 runs.

With two runs needed for victory, Tiwary was dismissed for 93 run out while being forced to scamper for a leg-bye by the non-striker Rahul Shukla and was visibly frustrated. 

But Shukla, who bowled his side back into contention with a five-wicket haul in the second innings after conceding a 59-run lead, hit the winning runs.

The scores: Tamil Nadu (1st innings): 285; Jharkhand (1st innings) 226; Tamil Nadu (2nd innings): 152; Jharkhand (2nd innings): Utkarsh Singh b Siddharth 7, Mohammed Nizam b Sai Kishore 8, Kumar Suraj lbw b Sai Kishore 7, Saurabh Tiwary run out 93, Shahbaz Nadeem c Sai Kishore b Mohammed 8, Kumar Kushagra c (sub) b Siddharth 50, Virat Singh c Shahrukh b Aparajith 15, Anukul Roy c Indrajith b Aparajith 4, Rahul Shukla batting

Extras (b-4, lb-5, w-1): 10

Total (for eight wickets in 80.4 overs): 214

Fall of wickets: 1-15, 2-16, 3-31, 4-49, 5-139, 6-166, 7-176, 8-210

Tamil Nadu Bowling: Warrier 14.4-3-46-0, Siddharth 12-1-48-2, Sai Kishore 23-2-47-2, Shahrukh 4-0-10-0, Mohammed 5-2-13-1, Aparajith 15-5-27-2, Kaushik 7-2-14-0.

Result: Jharkhand beat TN by two wickets. MoM: Saurabh Tiwary.

Points: Jharkhand 6(12); TN 0(6).

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