Ranji Trophy: Mumbai hammers Tamil Nadu to reach final for record 47th time

Mumbai, boasting an unprecedented 41 Ranji Trophy titles, cemented their place in the final of the 2023-24 season. The Ajinkya Rahane-led side secured a dominating victory by an innings and 70 runs over Tamil Nadu in the second semi-final at the Bandra Kurla Complex in Mumbai.

This will be Mumbai’s 47th Ranji Trophy appearance in the final of the prestigious tournament as they continue their remarkable legacy in India’s premier domestic tournament, once again stamping their authority in the competition.

Opting to bat first, Tamil Nadu were bundled out for a mere 146 in their first innings. Apart from Vijay Shankar’s 44 and Washington Sundar’s 43, no other batsman could cope with the disciplined Mumbai bowling attack led by pacers Shardul Thakur and Tushar Deshpande, who took two and three wickets respectively, with spinners Musheer Khan and Tanush Kotian chipping in with two wickets.

In reply, Mumbai piled on the misery for Tamil Nadu amassing 378 in their first innings to take a substantial 232-run lead. Despite early setbacks including the departure of openers Prithvi Shaw and Bhupen Lalwani, Musheer Khan (55) and Hardik Tamore (35) steadied the ship with crucial contributions.

However, it was Shardul Thakur’s scintillating century (109 of 105) that took Mumbai to a better position, for which he was awarded the Player of the Match award. Thakur was complemented well by Tanush Kotian’s gritty 89*, who along with No. 11 batter Tushar Deshpande, stitched a final-wicket partnership of 88, which propelled Mumbai to a commanding total of 378, securing a substantial lead. Tamil Nadu’s skipper Sai Kishore picked up a splendid six-wicket haul but didn’t receive a lot of assistance from the rest of his teammates.

Tamil Nadu’s second innings followed a similar script with their top 3 yet again registering single-digit scores, as they were bundled out for 162, falling well short of Mumbai’s formidable total. This time it was the spin duo of Shams Mulani and Tanush Kotian for Mumbai who did the bulk of the damage, sharing 6 wickets between them, with pacers Thakur and Mohit Avasthi bowling economical spells taking a couple of wickets apiece. Only Baba Indrajith’s defiant 70 provided some resistance for Tamil Nadu.

With this convincing win, Mumbai marched into yet another Ranji Trophy final, their 47th in the illustrious history of the tournament. They will take on the winners of the other semi-final between Vidarbha and Madhya Pradesh as they aim to augment their staggering tally of 41 titles.