Tamil Nadu were out for 149 runs in their second innings leaving Maharashtra a target of 193 to achieve an outright victory. On a wicket where a generous quantity of loose soil is present and the ball is turning square, Maharashtra slumped to a precarious 75 for eight, 118 runs adrift of the target.
“Our batsmen did not spend enough time at the wicket. This is a strip where batsmen need to grind it out. However, none of our batsmen really applied themselves and we lost wickets in quick succession,” said skipper Rohit Motwani, who also conceded that the team was a disappointed lot. “We had a good opportunity to grab an outright victory but the way we batted was disappointing,” he said.
Akshay Darekar, who picked up four wickets in Tamil Nadu’s second innings, was batting, along with Ankit Bawne, when stumps were drawn.
Maharashtra had a shaky beginning losing their four opening batsmen with just 38 runs on board. It opted to open the second innings with debutant Satyajit Bachhav, a left-arm spinner, in the company of Harshad Khadiwale. “The plan was to soften the ball before we got our main batsmen out in the middle and Bachhav was supposed to block everything. However, it didn’t really work and he couldn’t stay on the wicket for long enough,” conceded Motwani. Maharashtra had slumped to 45 for six with all but two pure batsmen dismissed.
Maharashtra began the morning brightly with Shrikant Mundhe dismissing Abhinav Mukund in the very first over. Murali Vijay, who got out on a duck in the first innings, managed to score 17 before he edged a Darekar delivery to Khurana in the slips. Darekar snapped up Subramaniam Badrinath for eight, using a clever change of pace to force Badrinath to lob a catch which the bowler pouched. Khurana, who has been used liberally by skipper Motwani since last season, then came to the party and sent Dinesh Karthik and R Prasanna back. Motwani had said any target under 200 was gettable but Maharashtra’s batsmen did not live up to Motwani’s faith.
Bachhav, the makeshift opener, was dismissed in the very first over, as he spooned a tame return catch to Balaji. The Tamil Nadu captain got another wicket in his very next over as he got rid of Khurana. Harshad Khadiwale managed to hang around for a while, facing 48 balls for his 13 runs but Vijaykumar Yo Mahesh dislodged his woodwork to leave Maharashtra at 38 for three. Sangram Atitkar followed Khadiwale to the pavilion and he was soon joined by Nikhil Paradkar and Kedar Jadhav with Maharashtra reeling at 45 for six. Motwani stitched a 28-run partnership with Bawne but just as Maharashtra were beginning to hope for resurrection, the captain was bowled by Aushik Srinivas with the score at 73 for seven. Shrikant Mundhe perished for a duck and with play being extended for half an hour, Darekar and Bawne had to face a barrage of hostile bowling with Tamil Nadu looking to finish off the match.