Ranji Trophy: Tamil Nadu, Gujarat expect a high-scoring tie

With both captains -- Tamil Nadu's Abhinav Mukund and Gujarat's Axar Patel -- sounding unanimously wary and concerned of the equations to clinch a play-off berth, one thing appears stiffly certain: an outright win, or the first innings lead, at the least, is what the teams will seek.

abhinav mukund dinesh karthik

Dinesh Karthik (left) and Skipper Abhinav Mukund, who have scored 1147 runs together, have been Tamil Nadu's batting mainstays.   -  R. V. Moorthy

Tamil Nadu plays Gujarat in group A in the ninth and final league round of the Ranji trophy at the KSCA stadium on Wednesday here.

Either team's with a good look-in at the quarterfinals - Gujarat, with a match cancelled and given a point for it, is placed second, and Tamil Nadu, third.

Yet, both teams eye the match as one tilting favours, especially with Madhya Pradesh and Bengal also chancing the two remaining quarterfinal slots from the group. Mumbai has already secured its play-off berth.

"I expect a high-scoring match. From the look of it, the wicket will help the batsmen," said Gujarat skipper Axar Patel on the eve of the match.

Where Gujarat boasts of the top run-getter in one Priyank Panchal - he has 924 runs at an average of 115.50 - Tamil Nadu has farmed and sustained a core batting group - captain Abhinav Mukund, Kaushik Gandhi, Dinesh Karthik, and Baba Indrajith collectively account for 2066 runs in the team's tally of 3028 runs scored so far.

Also intact is the chief bowling trio - right-arm pacemen Aswin Crist and K. Vignesh, and left-arm spinner Aushik Srinivas have picked up 73 of the 118 wickets that Tamil Nadu has accrued so far.

K. Vignesh has been the most consistent - he's been the leading wicket-taker for the team with 32 wickets that includes three four-wicket, and two five-wicket hauls.

Naturally, the captain's content. "I think the bowlers have stood up really well considering that we've been playing on neutral venues this year. Except for Aswin and Aushik, the others are relatively inexperienced. Together, they've lent stability to the bowling attack," Abhinav said.

Dinesh Karthik, who didn't keep wickets in the last three matches to let not worsen a finger injury, will most likely don the gloves in the match. He now has more than 500 runs this season with a hundred, and five fifties. Abhinav Mukund, and Kaushik Gandhi are the other Tamil Nadu batsmen in the 500+ club.

"We've applied ourselves really well especially after a couple of not so good games initially. We've always tried to run up tall scores. Hopefully, we can do that tomorrow (Wednesday) as well, " Abhinav said of his batting unit.

With both captains sounding unanimously wary and concerned of the equations to clinch a play-off berth, one thing appears stiffly certain: an outright win, or the first innings lead, at the least, is what the teams will seek.