Tamil Nadu which dominated the Ranji Trophy semifinal against Mumbai — from the post lunch session last Tuesday and thereafter took a first innings lead of 202 runs — confirmed its entry into the tournament final here on Friday.

Led by Laxmipathi Balaji, Tamil Nadu will now take on the defending champion Rajasthan in the final at Chennai from January 19. Rajasthan had got the better of Tamil Nadu in the semifinal of the last season played at Jaipur before it outwitted Baroda in the final played at the Moti Bagh Palace ground.

While the Southern team left the venue on Friday with happy memories, Mumbai's Balwinder Singh Sandhu (jr) too left the stadium with a pleasant feeling of bagging ten wickets in a Ranji trophy match for the first time.

He bowled with enthusiasm, energy and skill in his long stint of 33 plus overs, bagged five wickets for the third time in three matches and ended his debut season on a high note. The 24-year-old seamer took five for 88 in the first innings and five for 74 in the second for a match haul of 10 for 162.

Sandhu (jr) was responsible for the fall of the four Tamil Nadu batsmen on the last day. He dismissed M. Vijay (142, 367m, 250b, 21x4, 2x6), R. Prasanna, Sunny Gupta and L. Balaji before the declaration came leaving the home team a fourth innings target of 534 runs in 44 overs. But after Abhishek Nayar and Suryakumar Yadav made some runs and increased their aggregate for the season, the teams decided to bring a halt to the proceedings before the start of the 15th mandatory over.

“We have shown mental strength and character right through the season and I am very happy that R. Prasanna and Yomahesh showed it again for us to recover from 139 for six. Prasanna has been a consistent performer in the league and he brings in plenty of experience. We have a good batting line up with the top four having played for India. At the start of the season I believed that the team's bowling unit should hunt in a pack and that's what we have done,'' said Balaji.

Tamil Nadu — 1st innings: 359.

Mumbai — 1st innings: 157.

Tamil Nadu — 2nd innings: Abhinav Mukund b Waingankar 42, M. Vijay C Shah b Sandhu (jr) 142, S. Badrinath b Chavan 23, D. Karthik b Sandhu (jr) 4, K.S. Vasudevadas c Yadav b Waingankar 36, R. Prasanna c Pawar b Sandhu (jr) 44, S. Gupta b Sandhu 13, V. Yomahesh (not out) 6, L. Balaji c&b Sandhu (jr) 4, Extras (b-1, lb-7, nb-4, w-5) 17, Total (for 8 wkts in 113. 1 overs) 331.

Fall of wkts: 1-90, 2-129, 3-134, 4-219, 5-268, 6-320, 7-321, 8-331.

Mumbai bowling: Kulkarni 10-4-27-0, Sandhu (jr) 33.1-10-74-5, Waingankar 29-7-86-2, Nayar 2-0-14-0, Powar 7-2-17-0, Chavan 28-5-102-1, Yadav 1-1-0-0, Pawar 3-1-3-0.

Mumbai: 2nd innings: K. Pawar c Badrinath b Kaushik 0, A. Nayar c Gupta b Kaushik 22, H. Shah (not out) 29, S. Yadav c Prasanna b Srinivas 33, A. Chavan not out 1, Extras (lb3) 3, Total (for 3 wkts in 29 overs) 88.

Fall of wkts: 1-4, 2-25, 3-79.

Tamil Nadu bowling: Kaushik 4-2-6-2, Yomahesh 3-2-18-0, Gupta 7-1-26-0, Srinivas 11-3-27-1, Vijay 4-1-8-0.

Keywords: Ranji Trophy

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