Make-or-break time for TN, Baroda
Vadodara, Nov 24 (PTI) Tamil Nadu has a lot to play for when it takes on Baroda in its final Ranji Trophy Group "C" match here from tomorrow with qualification for the knockouts on the line.
The team currently lies fourth in the group with 11 points from five games and the final round of games would decide who goes through.
Tamil Nadu, which was held to a draw by Madhya Pradesh in a must-win game in the previous game, needs to beat Baroda (on 10 points) possibly with a bonus point and hope that the other results go its way.
Andhra Pradesh, which has completed its league campaign, leads the group with 19 points followed by Madhya Pradesh (15) and Mumbai (14).
The visiting team will miss the services of all-rounder Vijay Shankar, who has been picked in the Indian Test team playing Sri Lanka currently and experienced 'keeper-batsman Dinesh Karthik.
The Tamil Nadu selectors have recalled left-arm spinner D T Chandrasekhar and picked medium-pace all-rounder R Rohit to bolster the bowling attack.
The batting has come good after failing to fire in the opening game of the season against Andhra Pradesh. Skipper Abhinav Mukund, who was in prolific form in the previous season, has not got going and would be eager to pull his weight in the crunch game.
Also, comeback man V Yomahesh has scored two centuries, which helped the team secure the lead against Mumbai and Madhya Pradesh.
Medium-pacer K Vignesh, who was one of the finds of the 2016-'17 season, has tried manfully and has been supported by Yomahesh but the team's inability to prevent Odisha from securing the lead, seems baffling.
Tamil Nadu would be expected to go all-out in the final league game while Baroda too would fancy their chances despite having been up-and-down through the season.
Vishnu Solanki and all-rounder Swapnil K Singh have been in good form with the bat, while the latter has 14 wickets in his kitty.
The Baroda bowlers rocked a strong Mumbai batting line-up and Tamil Nadu would be wary of that fact.
A fascinating battle lies ahead as both teams would look to register a win and keep their knockout prospects alive, albeit depending on results in the two other Group "C" matches (Mumbai vs Tripura and Madhya Pradesh vs Odisha)