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Ranji Trophy, 2024: TN qualifies to QF after 7 seasons, as an era ends with number of retirements

Railways created history with the highest successful chase of Ranji

The last and seventh round of the Ranji Trophy 2024 saw Tamil Nadu qualifying for the qualifiers for the first time since 2016-’17. They would face Saurashtra who got lucky with the last-minute draw in the Maharashtra and Services game.

Madhya Pradesh will face Andhra, while Vidarbha is set to lock horns with Karnataka, who finished in the top eight for the seventeenth time in 18 seasons. Mumbai will take on Baroda in their home fixture of the quarter-final round.

Agni Chopra is still the highest run scorer of the tournament with 939 runs while Tanay Thyagarajan is the leading wicket taker with 46 scalps.

A long era comes to an end in Ranji Trophy with number of retirements

The first retirement news of the Ranji Trophy 2024 came as Manoj Tiwary bids adieu from domestic cricket. Tiwary announced retirement last year, but swung his mind at the eleventh hour. He finished his career with 10195 runs in 148 first-class games at an average of 47.86 with 30 centuries and 45 fifties. Faiz Fazal, another giant of the domestic cricket, also declared his retirement with 9184 runs in 138 games at an average of 41 with 24 centuries and 39 fifties.

Faiz Fazal takes retirement from Ranji Trophy
©- Johns./ Twitter

Dhawal Kulkarni didn’t feature in Mumbai’s last leg game of the Ranji round in the group stage, but he too has said goodbye with 281 wickets in 95 games at an average of 27.31 with 15 five wicket hauls. Saurabh Tiwary, another giant for Bihar and Jharkhand in domestic cricket, finished his career with 8076 runs in 116 games at an average of 47.22 with 22 centuries and 34 fifties.

Tiwary was joined by Varun Aaron, who felt that his body won’t be ready for fats bowling. He ended with 173 wickets in 66 FC games at an average of 33.27 with six five wicket hauls.

Tamil Nadu vs Punjab: TN scripts vital victory to end QF draught

Coming into this vital knockout game, Tamil Nadu required either a first innings lead or a victory to end their qualifier draught of seven seasons. Winning the toss in Salem, they put up a huge first innings score of 435 as Baba Indrajith (187) and Vijay Shankar (130) put up their respective centuries. The six-wicket haul from S Ajith Ram destroyed the opponents for just 274, as only wicket-keeper Anmol Malhotra celebrated his fifty.

The first innings lead of this Ranji game meant a draw still could have been enough for TN, who activated the follow-on. Punjab didn’t show any better results with the bat in the second innings too, as except Nehal Wadhera (109), no one stepped up even with a 50, as they were blown away for 231.

In just seven over, Tamil Nadu reached the target of 71 runs for the damage of just one wicket to script their history.

Maharashtra vs Services: A game of three hearts ends in Saurashtra’s favor

By the time the game between Maharashtra and Services reached on the last day, Saurashtra had already got their innings and 243 runs victory over Manipur, but they needed to deny Services an innings win, which could be done only by Maharashtra.

In Delhi, Maharashtra put up 225 after winning the toss, as only Ruturaj Gaikwad, recovered from an injury, stood up for his long fighting 96-run knock. Arjun Sharma’s left arm spin ended with 5/59. No one celebrated their century, but everyone from the Services side got a start to propel themselves to 432.

Gaikwad denied Services a victory
©- Lalit Kalidas/ Twitter

At 143/6, Services smelt their target near, as the heart beats of the Saurashtra fans were on the higher side. Ruturaj Gaikwad, even with an hand blow walked at number eight and denied Services their victory, to take SAU to the Ranji quarters for another season.

Tripura vs Railways: The highest ever successful chase of Ranji Trophy belongs to Railways

Winning the toss in Agartala, Railways opted to bowl first. The four-wicket haul from Yuvraj Singh, the right-arm pacer, reduced Tripura for just 149, as only Sridam (71) stepped up for his 71-run knock. Railways had no answer before the pace bowling of Murasingh (5/28) as they were dusted for just 105, out of which 62* runs came from the bat of Arindam Ghosh.

Sudip Chatterjee (95) missed his century but his 147-run fourth wicket stand with Ganesh Satish (62) ensured Tripura a huge score of 333 in their second innings. The lower order also fired up with couple of knock in the 40s. The task for Railways was huge and history was against them.

At 31/3, it felt like the normal story. But the 175-run fourth wicket stand between Pratham Singh (169*) and Mohammad Saif (106) ensured Railways would be near the target. Pratham kept on batting and gazed up another 118-run fifth wicket stand as Railways scripted the highest ever successful fourth innings run chase of 378/5 in Ranji Trophy.

Railways created history
©- BCCI Domestic/ Twitter
Bengal vs Bihar: Mukesh Kumar held his form with 10-wkt haul

There wasn’t much interest from the outside on the game between Bengal and Bihar, but eyes were on Mukesh Kumar, who was released by the Indian side to play in the Ranji Trophy before joining the national team in Ranchi.

On a chilly Kolkata morning at the Eden Gardens, Bengal blew away Bihar for just 95 in one and half sessions as Mukesh found 4/18 in 14 overs besides his name. Abhimanyu Easwaran, another player who is around the Indian Test set-up marched himself to an unbeaten 200-run knock as Bengal declared on 411/5.

Another fragile batting from Bihar found them getting all-out for just 112, as this time Mukesh ended with 6/32 in nine overs to earn an innings and 204-run victory for the home side.

Hyderabad vs Meghalaya: Hyderabad becomes plate winner with 5-wkts

At the Rajiv Gandhi international Stadium, Meghalaya, opting to bat, put up 304 in their first innings as Raj Biswa (64) and Akash Choudhary (50) celebrated their fifties. Thyagarajan ended with a fie wicket haul.

The home side was under trimindous pressure at 39/3, before 131-run seventh wicket stand between K Nitesh Reddy (122) and wicket-keeper Pragnay Reddy (102*) flew them to 350. The 102-run fourth wicket stand between centurion Raj Biswa (100) and Jaskirant Singh (81) drilled them to 243.

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Hyderabad chased down their target of 203 runs with five wickets in hands, thanks to couple of scores in the 60s from Gahlaut Rahul Singh (62) and captain Tilak Verma (64). They got their promotion for their next season.

The quarter-final round of the Ranji Trophy will begin on February 23, 2024.

That Mad Writer
Author: That Mad Writer

Someone who loves how Steve Smith from being Australia's future Shane Warne has become present Don Bradman, gets inspired by Anderson's longevity, gets awed with Kohli's drive and Southee's bowling action. Never gets excited with stats and records, and believes in instincts, and always questions spinners bowling with the new ball.

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