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Tamil Nadu's thrilling chase falls just short

With a mammoth target of 355 ahead of them, Tamil Nadu batters managed to get a comfortable start in the morning session, with Vimal Khumar and Pradosh Ranjan Paul striking some good shots to keep the scoreboard up and moving.

Tamil Nadus thrilling chase falls just short
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Baba Indrajith (L) and Vijay Shankar’s partnership of 125 runs had put Tamil Nadu back in the contest

CHENNAI: Tamil Nadu fell agonisingly short of a sensational victory by just 17 runs, settling for a draw in the final day that kept spectators on the edge of their seats against Karnataka here at Chepauk on Monday.

With a mammoth target of 355 ahead of them, Tamil Nadu batters managed to get a comfortable start in the morning session, with Vimal Khumar and Pradosh Ranjan Paul striking some good shots to keep the scoreboard up and moving.

The 21-year-old off-spinner Shashi Kumar gave Karnataka its first breakthrough by dismissing Vimal (31,107b, 2x4) who looked solid enough to play a longer innings.

But that didn’t deter the host as Pradosh joined hands with Baba Indrajith to raise hopes for the home team.

However, Vijaykumar Vyshak came to the rescue of Karnataka as he dismissed the in-form Pradosh (74,116b, 10x4) just before lunch.

Going into the afternoon session, Tamil Nadu needed 205 more runs to win with seven wickets in hand. But that seven came down to five when the 17-year-old Hardik Raj scalped two wickets in the afternoon, preventing the batters from building a long partnership.

Four wickets down, TN chose to send hard-hitter Mohammed, which sent signals across the ground that the host was going for all three points.

“I was not expecting Mohammed to come in, and when he came, I thought we were up for something. But I was concerned about getting that one point first, which will be crucial for the next match. When I came in for the break, the captain told us to take the game deep, and if we get close, then we’ll go for it,” said Indrajith, speaking to the media after the match.

In the final hour of the play, Tamil Nadu needed 97 runs to win with the experienced Vijay Shankar and Indrajith at the crease.

Just a few minutes after tea, Vijay struck a huge six in the mid-wicket area, with roaring approval from the crowd to see that kind of attacking display, which was the only way TN could pull off a miraculous victory.

The duo added 125 runs to their partnership and turned the tides in their favour up until Indrajith got run-out unfortunately. He fell short by two runs to get his century in an innings where he stepped up for his team.

Vijay was dismissed just a few deliveries later, when he tried to clear the ball through mid-wicket but it landed in the hands of Karnataka’s skipper Mayank Agarwal.

Lokeshwar was the next one to walk back to the pavilion, going for a big hit.

Tamil Nadu avoided going for the big shots after the eighth wicket. Skipper Sai Kishore and Ajith Ram took the team to a draw against their southern rivals after faltering in the first innings.

“It was one of the finest batting displays you can see, especially on a fourth-day wicket chasing 300 plus target and even getting close to it was a great achievement from our end,” said Vijay Shankar.

In the seventh and last league match, TN takes on Punjab in Salem from February 16.

BRIEF SCORES: Karnataka 366 & 139 drew with Tamil Nadu 151 & 338/8 in 105 overs (Pradosh Ranjan Paul 74, B Indrajith 98, Vijay Shankar 60, V Vyshak 3/71). Points: Karnataka 3 (24); TN 1 (22)

Hemkesh
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