Ranji Trophy: Down and out! What went wrong for big teams?

As Ranji Trophy heads to the quarterfinals, Sportstar takes a look at the some of the big teams which failed to make it to the knockouts.

The Abhinav Mukund-led unit might feel hard done by the inclement weather which denied the side an outright win over Tripura at the Chepauk.   -  AP

Tamil Nadu (11 points from six matches)

The Abhinav Mukund-led unit might feel hard done by the inclement weather which denied the side an outright win over Tripura at the Chepauk.

However, the absence of star batsman Murali Vijay and experienced off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, who are out for Test duty, has hurt the team's chances, as it failed to make it to the knockouts. In absence of Vijay, the team’s top order lacked the spine. Kaushik Gandhi, who starred with the willow last season, having scored 785 runs at 60.38, has found runs hard to come by – 91 runs at 15.16 this season – a testament to his woes. In the bowling department too, Tamil Nadu has struggled to clean up the opposition tail — Andhra recovering from 64 for 5 to post 309 being a case in point. The spin attack lacked bite and variety.

Uttar Pradesh (5 points from six matches)

Its shambolic season was duly reflected in captain Suresh Raina’s individual struggles with the bat. The dynamic southpaw, eyeing a comeback into the Indian squad, did himself no favours with just 105 runs at 11.66. On the bowling side, left-arm orthodox spinner Saurabh Kumar topped the wickets tally for UP, having lapped up 23 scalps at 2.75. That said, none of the UP bowlers featured in the Top-10 wicket-takers list this season — leaving the side to bemoan the collective failure of its bowlers and batsmen.

READ: Ranji Trophy: Who plays who in quarterfinals

Jammu & Kashmir (9 points from six matches)

Samiullah Beigh, playing his last Ranji Trophy season this year, would’ve hoped for a brighter end to what had been an illustrious 14-year-long career with the state side but that was not to be. The veteran made a meagre 28 runs from two outings at 9.66 - against Team Rajasthan and Saurashtra, and scalped two wickets. His team-mates too failed to impress with the willow; Bisht, Bandy and Khajuria managing only one hundred apiece. Bandy was the top scorer with 414 runs at 37.63. The bowlers, on the other hand, save right-arm off-spinner Pervez Rasool. whose 28 wickets at an economy rate of 2.85 was the only bright spot, fell short of stitching together an incisive attack.

To compound its woes, the infighting between coach Mithun Manhas and the team think tank became public when Manhas did not travel with the team to Jaipur for its season opener. Manhas had told Sportstar that he was peeved by Jammu & Kashmir Cricket Association’s decision to appoint Rasool as the skipper - suffice to say, a bumpy start had already rung the alarm bells for the side.

READ: Ranji Trophy: Kerala scripts history, makes it to quarters for the first time

Hyderabad (16 points from six matches)

The first two matches at home get abandoned due to heavy rains. And the third results in a defeat to Karnataka. Much like Tamil Nadu, Hyderabad too was a victim of bad weather conditions. Its batting department, teeming with match winners like captain Ambati Rayudu, Akshath Reddy and Tanmay Agarwal, rose to the occasion in a must-win game against Assam. The bowling attack, marshalled by experienced left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha, didn't do too bad a job either. 

That said, in its recent tie against group leader Delhi, the team surrendered to a batting collapse. From a comfortable 102 for two, it was reduced to 147 for six - credit to Delhi which bowled with discipline but the lack of resolve on the part of Hyderabad batters meant a berth in the knock-outs was out of contention for the team.

Saurashtra (26 points from six matches)

Last season, with two of its key players Cheteshwar Pujara and Ravindra Jadeja missing in action, the team finished seventh in its group winning only two matches and losing four. The 2015-16 finalist was therefore bolstered by the return of India's Test specialist Pujara, who led the side against Haryana at Lahli in absence of regular skipper Jaydev Shah. Pujara was the team's highest run-scorer this season, accumulating 437 runs at 87.40 whereas India's star all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja took 10 wickets and scored 258 runs before the duo was summoned for national duty. Left-arm spinner Dharmendrasinh Jadeja impressed with the ball lapping up 34 wickets at an economy rate of 3.81.

But despite winning three of its six encounters, Saurashtra failed to qualify for the knock-outs.

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