Resuming at two for no loss, the much-vaunted TN batting was folded up for a meagre 130. All the hard work done by its bowlers in bringing them back into the contest went futile as the batting came a cropper and this has been the recurring theme in what has been a wretched season.
Left-arm spinner Rahil Shah, who played the first four matches before being dropped for the last two, couldn’t hide his disappointment at his team’s abject failure to qualify for the knockout stages.
“It is extremely saddening to see the team eliminated in the group stage. What makes this all the more painful is that ours was not a tough group to qualify from. And considering we did so well last year, we expected to do a lot better this time,” said the 32-year-old tweaker. Rahil said this was not the time to hide behind excuses and instead identify the loose ends that need to be tied up without further delay.
“We have only ourselves to blame. If we go back all the way to our season opener against Andhra, that was a batting friendly wicket and we managed to score only 176 and then conceded the innings lead. And in our next match against Tripura the weather intervened but I wouldn’t want to use it as an excuse. The spinners failed to deliver and the fielding lapses, especially against Odisha, were costly,” analysed Rahil.
It looked like TN was back in the hunt after a commendable display of grit in the away match against Mumbai, where it seized the innings lead thanks to a spirited batting effort from allrounder V Yo Mahesh. Rahil said there were a couple of outstanding individual performances that stood out but collectively the team was found wanting in multiple facets.
“It was a brave effort from Yo Mahesh to help us take the lead in two away games with his unbeaten centuries. Him and fast bowler K Vignesh were some of the bright spots for us. For us to not advance beyond the league stage is just not acceptable,” rued Rahil.