Friday, January 20, 2012

Akash Chopra & Vineet Saxena spoil TN party - Ranji Finals


Tamilnadu fans were hoping a lot – understand that there are no tickets – perhaps total reflection of the way Ranji Trophy is being viewed.  Tamilnadu and Rajasthan retained the same teams that played in the Semi Finals.  Rajasthan won the toss and in walked Akash Chopra with little known Vineet Saxena. 
The first ball was clipped by Akash Chopra for a 4; 3rd flicked for another;4th a no ball batsman rotate strike and now it  4th driven to long off for 4 by Saxena; 6th ball batsmen ran three and Ranji Finals starts with a 17 run over. That was no indication of the grind that was to follow.  Akash Chopra is a compact batsman with good technique – played in 10 tests – 19 innings scoring 437 runs with 2 fifties.  He was gritty and never threw his wicket.  Incidentally, he played against only 2 countries – New Zealand at home and Australia at home and in Australia in 2003-04.  It was a day when TN bowlers were made to sweat totally.  Chopra played 273 balls and Saxena 269 – Chopra is 86 n.0 and Saxena completing a century is 120 n.o.  In 90 overs Rajasthan made 221 at 2.45 runs per over but importantly have not a single wicket  the whole day.  Balaji, Kaushik,  Yo Mahesh, Aushik Srinvas, Sunny Gupta all bowled and even A Mukund and Vasudevadas chipped with no result. 
So from the Semis at Rohtak  where the cumulative total  was 2 short of 400 – a very different scenario at Chepauk with so many runs scored albeit slowly.  Perhaps Rajasthan was primarily determined to occupy and frustrate and accomplished it so well ending up with assuring score.  Rajasthan have mastered the art of slow batting torture and this season alone, in the four of the nine previous matches, they scored 450-plus totals in the first innings to gain the upper hand.  After the first over,  Balaji bowled another six overs that included five maidens. Rajasthan reached lunch 89 for 0 without fuss.  
May be for the first time, you have a Yorkshire Umpire PJ Hartley standing in alongside VA Kulkarni.  Hartley,  has  officiated in six ODIs and three Twenty20 internationals, and is here in  umpire exchange programme between the BCCI and the ECB.  
So it certainly is not the way TN would have wanted but lack of strategy perhaps was clearly showing.  Elsewhere at a neutral venue,  at Dubai International Cricket stadium, Pakistan won the 1st Test by 10 wickets.  England were bowled out for 160 in the 2nd innings as  Umar Gul, Saeed Ajmal and Abdur Rehman shared the spoils. 

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

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