AT THE start of Day 4, Tamil Nadu had two choices. Approach their second innings with a devil-may-care attitude and go hell for leather to make a match of it. Or hang in there, bat out the day, and see how difficult they could make Mumbai’s inevitable journey to the Ranji final a tad tougher. With the first innings lead having been given up, their only interest in the match was to somehow force an outright win over the defending champions.
In the end, they probably found the perfect balance, setting up a challenging target of 251 (reduced from the original 256 after the Tamil Nadu batsmen were fined 5 penalty runs for intentionally running on the wicket) for Mumbai to chase — and 10 wickets to take on the final day.
Tamil Nadu scored at 4.56 in their innings before declaring on 356/6. The two centurions on the day, skipper Abhinav Mukund and Baba Indrajith, exemplified their team’s two different approaches. Mukund accumulated runs with attractive strokes mixed with a lot of nudges and pokes. Indrajith was the more refreshing, making the most of his promotion to No.3 with a counter-attacking knock that set up the semifinal for what looks like an interesting finish. Dinesh Karthik and Vijay Shankar chipped in with cameos to allow their bowlers a few overs at the Mumbai openers. Teenager Prithvi Shaw and the seasoned Waghela, did well to keep the TN spinners in the five overs they had to see off late in the day.
Brief scores: Tamil Nadu 305 & 356/6 vs Mumbai 411 & 5/0.