Shardul Thakur shone brightly with his all-round performance as a clinical Mumbai thrashed Tamil Nadu by a massive innings and 70-run margin inside three days to enter the final of the Ranji Trophy, here on Monday. After his stunning 109 on the second day that handed Mumbai a big lead of 232 runs in the first innings, Thakur led Mumbai's bowling attack to bundle TN out for 162 in the second essay. Baba Indrajith (70) waged a lone battle for the visitors, who were determined to make it big in their first Ranji knockout game in seven years, but their batters failed to show up against the rampant Mumbai side. Suryakumar Yadav Congratulates Mumbai On Entering Ranji Trophy 2023-24 Final (See Post).

Once again, TN lost their top-order without any contribution and the middle-order too crumbled against the pressure, though the pair of Indrajith and Pradosh Ranjan Paul put some resistance, stitching 73 runs for the fourth wicket. The catalyst of Mumbai's win was bowling all-rounder Thakur (109; 2/48 and 2/16), who dragged them back into the contest from a perilous state of 106/7 in the first innings to an overall lead of 232 runs with his maiden century across formats.

Thakur was all over TN with a two-wicket burst early on day three, helping Mumbai reduce the visitors to 10/3 in the second innings. B Sai Sudharsan was given a reprieve by Shreyas Iyer at midwicket, spilling a sitter in his first over, but Thakur had the left-handed opener caught behind with a superb inswinger that took an inside edge.

Thakur swung the new ball dangerously and snaffled the key wicket of N Jagadeesan for a seven-ball duck. Mohit Avasthi also tasted success when he had Washington Sundar, promoted at No. 3, caught behind. With the top order blown away, recovery was a herculean task for TN but the pair of Indrajith and Pradosh Ranjan Paul did well to take the attack to the opposition and keep their side in the contest.

Indrajith was back in his usual elements, cracking nine fours to make 70 off 105 balls but his resistance ended after nicking one behind to wicket-keeper Tamore off Avasthi. Mumbai spinners Tanush Kotian (2/18) and Shams Mulani (4/53) joined fellow pacers in piling up further misery on the TN batters, sharing the remaining six wickets to wrap up the win for the hosts. 'No Trainer Can Judge...' Sunil Gavaskar Defends Shreyas Iyer, Says Played Ranji Trophy Game Before England Series Started.

But it was Kotian, who took the initiative with wickets of Pradosh (25) and R Sai Kishore (21) before tea, while left-arm spinner Mulani, who had no wickets to show so far, grabbed each of the final four to return with figures of 13.5-1-53-4. Earlier in the day, Mumbai were bowled out for 378 with Sundar taking the final wicket to break the 10th-wicket stand between Tushar Deshpande (26) and Kotian (89 not out).

Brief scores: Tamil Nadu 146 and 162 in 51.5 overs (Baba Indrajith 70; Shardul Thakur 2/16, Shams Mulani 4/53, Tanush Kotian 2/18) lost to Mumbai 378 in 106.5 overs (Musheer Khan 55, Shardul Thakur 109, Tanush Kotian 89*; R Sai Kishore 6/99) by an innings and 70 runs.

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