In desperate pursuit of a win, Tamil Nadu dictated terms to host Baroda for large chunks of the day before letting its advantage slip in the crucial Group C Ranji Trophy match at Baroda on Saturday. At stumps, Baroda was 254 for eight with Swapnil Singh unbeaten on 94 and R Vaghela keeping him company on 6.
Well aware that it needed a win to keep itself in the reckoning for a place in the quarterfinals, TN made two changes to its team bringing in allrounder J Kousik in place of Vijay Shankar, who is away on India duty, and recalled batsman M Kaushik Gandhi in place of offspinner Malolan Rangarajan. The host won the toss and opted to bat first. As he has done throughout this season, pacer K Vignesh once again provided his team with early breakthroughs removing both the openers K Devdhar and A Waghmode.
When the promising allrounder Washington Sundar took the wicket of Vishnu Solanki, Baroda was in a spot of bother at 68 for three. Baroda found its saviour in Swapnil Singh 94 batting (182b, 10x4, 3x6) and together with captain Deepak Hooda, the pair added 71 runs for the fourth wicket before leftarm spinner R Sai Kishore ended their association with a caught and bowled dismissal of Hooda for 24. Soon after their separation, the Baroda innings was jolted again when it lost three quick wickets for the addition of 37 runs.
Allrounder J Kousik made an impact taking two of those three wickets. Just when it looked like Baroda would get bowled out for under 200, Swapnil again thwarted TN’s hopes this time in the company of Karthik Kakade as the two frustrated the TN bowlers with a vital 69-run partnership. With the day’s play nearing its end, Kakade ran himself out at 42.
Baroda (1st innings): K Devdhar c Mohammed b K Vignesh 17, A Waghmode c Aparajith b K Vignesh 19, V Solanki c K Vignesh b Washington Sundar 20, D Hooda c&b Sai Kishore 24, Swapnil Singh (batting) 94, M Patel c Indrajith b J Kousik 5, A Sheth c Jagadeesan b J Kousik 2, D Patel c Jagadeesan b Mohammed 10, K Kakade (run out) 42, R Vaghela (batting) 6. Extras: 15. Total: (in 87 overs) 254/8. FoW: 1-29, 2-58, 3-68, 4-139, 5-146, 6-154, 7-176, 8-245.
Bowling: Yo Mahesh 11-3-32-0, M Mohammed 10-3-19-1, Washington 21-5-76-1, K Vignesh 17-4-38-2, R Sai Kishore 17-4-49-1, J Kousik 10-1-28-2, B Aparajith 1-1-0-0.