ANI Photo | Ranji SF Day 2: Shardul Thakur’s century helps Mumbai dominate over Tamil Nadu

Shardul Thakur’s maiden first-class hundred helped Mumbai to take their lead to 207 and dominate over Tamil Nadu in the Ranji Trophy semi-final at the Bandra Kurla Complex on Sunday.
At Day two stumps, Mumbai stood at 353 for 9, with Tanush Kotian (74*) and Tushar Deshpande (17) on the crease.
Mumbai started the day at 45/2, with Musheer Khan (24*) and Mohit Avasthi (1*) unbeaten.
Mumbai were at 106/7, 40 runs behind Tamil Nadu when Thakur came on the crease on Sunday. TN’s Sai Kishore displayed a stupendous performance and ran through Mumbai’s middle order to such an extent that the 41-time champions were seven down despite a fifty from Musheer.
Starting his day with Bhupen Lawani’s wicket in his hand, Kishore went on to dismiss Musheer (55), Mohit (2), Ajinkya Rahane (19) and brought down Mumbai to their knees.
Pacer Sandeep Warrier also bagged a big wicket after he removed Shreyas Iyer for 3 runs.
But Thakur had other plans as he started a counter-attack with the bat and sent Sai Kishore’s delivery to the midwicket boundary with a slog-sweep.
Following that, Thakur played a 105-run partnership for the eighth wicket with Hardik Tamore, who provided 32 runs. Thakur shined against the rookie left-arm finger spinner S Ajith Ram and smashed him down the ground when he delivered full on the stumps. Later when Ajith shifted his lines a bit wider, Thakur stayed leg-side and hit him over the extra cover or cover point.
Thakur made half century with an overhead boundary against Ajith and claimed his century with another six off the rookie bowler. Following Thakur’s hundred, he punched his fist, and leapt in the air, his maiden first-class ton came in just 90 balls.
Thakur scored 49 runs against Ajith after facing 32 balls at a strike rate of 153.12. However, TN pacer Kuldeep Sen was successful in stopping Thakur’s fiery 109-run knock from 105 balls, with the second new ball in the 86th over.
After the dismissal of Thakur, Kotian and Deshpande troubled the TN bowlers with a 63-run partnership for the last wicket. Kotian, who had scored a career-best unbeaten 120 runs against Baroda in the quarter-final, will be eyeing back-to-back hundreds on Monday on the third day of the Ranji Trophy match.
Sai Kishore led the TN bowling attack after picking up six wickets, from his 37-over spell in which he gifted 97 runs. Meanwhile, Washington Sundar delivered seven overs for the TN and gifted just 19 runs to Mumbai’s star batting line-up.
Brief Score: Tamil Nadu 146 (Vijay Shankar 44, Washington Sundar 43; Tushar Deshpande 3-24, Shardul Thakur 2-48) vs Mumbai 353/9 (Tanush Kotian 74, Shardul Thakur 109; Sai Kishore 6/97). (ANI)

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