ANI Photo | Thakur’s fiery ton, Mulani’s four-wicket haul propel Mumbai to Ranji Trophy final

Shardul Thakur’s fiery ton and clinical power bowling performance from Shams Mulani powered Mumbai to the final of the ongoing Ranji Trophy following their victory by an innings and 70 runs over Tamil Nadu on Monday at MCA Cricket Ground.
Tamil Nadu batters once again failed to deliver with the bat against Ajinkya Rahane-led Mumbai team.
Shardul led the bowling attack and left-arm spinner Shams Mulani provided the ideal support in the crucial stage which saw Mumbai reach their 48th Ranji Trophy final.
Tamil Nadu were trailing by 232 runs as they set out to bat and enforce parity in the game. Apart from Baba Indrajith’s 70 the rest of the batters struggled to get an ideal start.
Pradosh Paul (25), Vijay Shankar (24) and skipper R Sai Kishore (21) managed to get off to a decent start but failed to convert it into big knocks.
Shardul’s 2/16 and Mulani with his four-wicket haul restricted Tamil Nadu to a score of 162.
Earlier in the Test, after Mumbai managed to confine Tamil Nadu to a score of 146, Thakur’s maiden Test ton flattened Tamil Nadu and effectively countered R Sai Kishore’s six-wicket haul.
When Thakur arrived on the crease Mumbai were reduced to 106/7, still 40 runs behind Tamil Nadu. Kishore was on fire after he breached Shams Mulani’s defence to send him back for a duck.
In the same over, Kishore went on to deceive set batter Musheer Khan (55) with the help of N Jagadeesan’s smart work behind the stumps.
Thakur against the flow of play, attacked Kishore and picked up a boundary with a slog-sweep. Kishore’s marathon 22-over spell which saw him claim the wickets of Mohit Avasthi (2) and Mumbai captain Ajinkya Rahane (19) with the help of turn and bounce was interrupted by lunch.
In the second session, Thakur with Hardik Tamore stitched up a 105-run partnership for the eighth wicket to pull Mumbai back into the game.
Thakur smashed finger spinner S Ajith Ram who picked up the wrong length against the in-form batter. He sent the ball flying into the stands in Ram’s over to raise his bat for 50.
Thakur continued his onslaught over Tamil Nadu’s bowlers and smashed a six once again in Ram’s over to raise his bat in the sky to celebrate his maiden Test ton which came in 90 balls.
Thakur lined up Ajith and scored 49 off 32 deliveries at a stunning strike rate of 153.12. Kishore who was Tamil Nadu’s most effective bowler conceded runs from Thakur’s bat over a strike rate of 100.
Pacer Kuldeep Sen managed to bring an end to high-flying Thakur with the second new ball for a score of 109 (105). Thakur’s heroics and Tanush Kotian’s blitz (89*) towards the end helped Mumbai put up 378 runs on the board which laid the foundation of their herculean victory.
Brief Score: Tamil Nadu 146 & 162 (Baba Indrajith 70, Pradosh Paul 25; Shams Mulani 4-53) vs Mumbai 378 (Shardul Thakur 109, Tanush Kotian 89*; Sai Kishore 6-99). (ANI)

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