Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Preview- Ranji Trophy Final, Tamil Nadu versus Rajasthan

The Ranji Final pits the remarkable Rajasthan outfit going for back to back wins against a Tamil Nadu line up that is in its 5th attempt at winning the Title for the first time since 1988. The line ups are a virtual mirror image of each other with the decisive factor in the Final might be the game being played on Tamil Nadu's home patch.

Lets look at the game in greater detail

Tamil Nadu

The nearly men of Indian Cricket have everything in their favour in this game with their Team being loaded by players who have represented India and the huge advantage of it being played on its home pitch.

In Murali Vijay, Abhinav Mukund, Subramaniam Badrinath and Dinesh Karthik the class in the teams top 4 is evident and will present a huge challenge for Rajasthan. Mukund has dominated throughout the season with an average of 87.10 and his partner in the classy Murali Vijay displayed all his pedigree with a century in the Semi Final against Mumbai. 

The struggles of the batting of the National Team that has sent Team India into transition mode offers both with a real incentive to excel. In the knowledge that a performance of note in this game with the spotlight shining bright might be rewarded with an Indian Test cap. Speaking of Team India, and one of the countries unluckiest players in Subramaniam Badrinath, who has been down on his usual gluttonous covet of runs this season. You have a real feeling that this sleeping giant in 'Badri' might awaken in the Final with a decisive master class.

Assisting the regal top 4 are two real junk yard dogs who love it when the heat comes on. In Ramaswamy Prasanna and Vijaykumar Yo Mahesh, who have contributed crucial efforts in the Teams time of greatest need. Making the top 6 have a real class and resoluteness about it in any situation.

The bowling side of things has a lovely balance about it lead by the three medium pace swing bowlers in Jagannathan Kaushik, Lakshmipathy Balaji and Vijaykumar Yo Mahesh. The first in Kaushik, a bowler that has a real talent of bowling huge in dippers which perfectly compliments the outswing of the latter two.
Expect a huge effort from the man with the best smile in World Cricket in Balaji, who must be sick to the back teeth of coming second best in his Tamil Nadu career
The spin department will be headed by the precociously talented 18 year old Aushik Srinivas, who bowls his left arm spin in a delightfully traditional manner. Making you swear you were watching Bishen Bedi with his drift and guile and making you believe that this young spinner will grace the National Team. The second spin spot will hopefully go to the attack minded Malolan Rangarajan as part of a 5 man attack.

Which will leave the Team as follows

 1 Abhinav Mukund, 2 Murali Vijay, 3 S Badrinath, 4 Dinesh Karthik (wk), 5 K Vasudevadas, 6 Ramaswamy Prasanna, 7 Yo Mahesh, 8 Malolan Rangarajan, 9 Lakshmipathy Balaji (capt), 10 Jagannathan Kaushik, 11 Aushik Srinivas


The rise of the Rajasthan Team from Plate status a few years back to the remarkable run and win in the Elite Competition last year has Bollywood written all over it.

Arguably the teams greatest strength is their Captain Hrishikesh Kanitkar, who is a shrewd and very insightful leader. He has a wealth of experience, and is very adept at getting the best out of his men as well as putting the clamps on the opposition. Modest in the extreme but matched by his intelligent cricketing brain.

The Teams three pronged pace attack has been behind their ascent to challenge for the Title once more. Only God knows why Pankaj Singh has not received an Indian call up for he has been consistently excellent for a few years now dominating in this season with 32 wickets at 30.40 on predominantly road pitches. Then his able bowling off siders in Rituraj Singh, who in his 3 matches has sets tongues a wagging about his ability to bowl the ball at a decent pace while having the ball on a string with his sincere ability in swing. His record of 22 wickets at an average of 14.31 shows his pedigree.

Completing the bowling three headed dragon is Sumit Mathur, who when it has been needed has delivered with match winning spells.

The Team is a bit thin on the ground in regards to its spin option with both left-arm spinner Gajendra Singh and leg-spinner Vivek Yadav rarely getting the job done for the Team. Choosing the leg spin of Yadav would be an attacking ploy fraught with potential reward, but great risk. So it seems apparent that Singh's safe left arm spin will be preferred.

Onto the batting side of things, which lacks the apparent might of their opposition, but still is laden with very respectable performers. Including the Competitions lead run scorer in Robin Bist, who has amassed 885 with an average of 88.50 with 4 centuries. At the top of the order Aakash Chopra, the ex Indian opener is always capable of playing a match defining innings, and duly needs to be respected. His partner in Vineet Saxena, who is also a player capable of playing a real gem.
Run Machine- Robin Bist
The rest of the batting has a real fight about lead by the veteran Kanitkar and completed by Puneet Yadav and the feisty keeper/batsman Dishant Yagnik. Who gained real respect with a century under real pressure against Hyderabad in the Quarter Final.

As the game is a few hours away the Rajasthan Team should be as follows

 1 Aakash Chopra, 2 Vineet Saxena, 3 Hrishikesh Kaniktar (capt), 4 Robin Bist, 5 Rashmi Parida, 6 Puneet Yadav, 7 Dishant Yagnik (wk), 8 Rituraj Singh, 9 Gajendra Singh, 10 Pankaj Singh, 11 Sumit Mathur

My Prediction

This game pits a Team that has been buried and risen over and over again in Rejasthan against the perennial challenger in Tamil Nadu.

One with a real belief and a penchant for taking opportunities in the current holder Rajasthan pitted against a Tamil Nadu outfit burdened with a reputation of coming up short

I just think Tamil Nadu will exorcise their demons from the past and be this years Champions

1 comment:

  1. I hope TN wins this time. But things don't look great for us at the moment with not a wicket gone for 200. But knowing the Chennai pitch it can deteriorate afterwards. They did a great job after winning the toss and batting first. I have not lost faith, we too have a good batting line-up. More than anything else, i think this final would be decided by the minds of both the teams.