On the eve of the Ranji Trophy Group ‘B’ match between Tamil Nadu and Baroda here, the home team’s coach, W.V. Raman, was busy handling the media’s posers. K. Dinesh Karthik, who happened to see the interaction, popped up with a mischievous grin.

He offered his coach a jocular suggestion: “Just tell them we will settle for nothing less than seven points.”

His prediction was nearly bang-on as Tamil Nadu stormed to a nine-wicket win on Monday.

With rain and bad light consuming two sessions on day two, the possibility of a result had looked distant.

But, on the fourth day, man-of-the-match Malolan Rangarajan (match haul of nine for 51), assisted by R. Aushik Srinivas (innings haul of three for 23) garrotted Baroda’s batsmen.

Off-spinner Malolan bowled unchanged for 21 overs, his spell yielding six wickets.

Resuming on 73 for one, Baroda was shot out for 129.

Tamil Nadu would have obtained a bonus point had it chased down the target of 59 with all its wickets intact. But K.B. Arun Karthick’s dismissal, with 11 runs still needed, put paid to that possibility.

Nevertheless, the side has reasons to be happy; it is now fourth on the points chart.

Earlier, all the menace Tamil Nadu’s bowling unit had built up was precluded by a dormant approach in the first hour. L. Balaji and Malolan did suppress the scoring-rate, but there’s little done by way of aggressive field placements to provoke errors.

The change-of-ball in the 48th over was followed by a rapid sequence of dismissals — Malolan chose to call it “coincidence”.

There were now more fielders around the bat as Aditya Waghmode became the first victim. Karthik smoothly rose with the bounce to gather the edge.

Malolan struck again soon after Kedar Devdhar’s sweep was caught well by Rahil S. Shah at square leg. Tamil Nadu’s fielding was first-rate, and it added to Baroda’s misery.

The Aushik-Abhinav Mukund combine accounted for two dismissals: first, Abhimanyu Chauhan edged one to first slip. The next ball, Yusuf Pathan succumbed to a lovely mixture of drift and turn, and Abhinav dived to his left for a sharp take.

Thereafter, it was the proverbial procession, with only opener Dhiren Mistry (64, 230b, 301m, 5x4) fighting a many-on-one battle, with his second fifty of the game.

The scores: Baroda — 1st innings: 162

Tamil Nadu — 1st innings: 233

Baroda — 2nd innings: Saurabh Wakaskar run out 20, Dhiren Mistry c Arun Karthick b Aushik 64, Aditya Waghmode c Dinesh Karthik b Malolan 22, Kedar Devdhar c Rahil b Malolan 1, Abhimanyu Chauhan c Abhinav b Aushik 9, Yusuf Pathan c Abhinav b Aushik 0, Pinal Shah lbw b Malolan 0, Hardik Pandya c Crist b Malolan 5, Murtuja Vahora c Rahil b Malolan 1, Ketul Patel b Malolan 0, Bhargav Bhatt (not out) 0, Extras (b-4, lb-3) 7; Total (in 75.2 overs) 129.

Fall of wickets: 1-38, 2-91, 3-95, 4-116, 5-116, 6-119, 7-125, 8-128, 9-129.

Tamil Nadu bowling: L. Balaji 10-5-15-0, Aswin Crist 5-1-9-0, R. Aushik Srinivas 17.2-9-23-3, R. Malolan 29-11-46-6, Rahil S. Shah 14-3-29-0.

Tamil Nadu — 2nd innings: K.B. Arun Karthick lbw b Ketul 33, Abhinav Mukund (not out) 20, B. Indrajith (not out) 5, Extras (lb-1) 1; Total (for one wkt. in 14.5 overs) 59.

Fall of wickets: 1-48.

Baroda bowling: Vahora 3-1-8-0, Bhatt 7-1-33-0, Ketul 3.5-0-16-1, Mistry 1-0-1-0.

Man-of-the-match: Malolan

Points: Tamil Nadu 6 (14), Baroda 0 (7).

Correction: In the report dated December 9, a sentence reads ‘Indrajith fell to Yusuf’. It was Bhatt who got Indrajith’s wicket.

The scorecard should read ‘B. Indrajith b Bhatt 38.’

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