TN v Haryana, Ranji Trophy, Chennai, 4th day November 13, 2011

Vijay hails Tamil Nadu's spirit

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Tamil Nadu came within five runs of pulling off an amazing heist in their Ranji Trophy match against Haryana at the Chidambaram Stadium. M Vijay, who bludgeoned 42 off 19 deliveries, hailed Tamil Nadu's "never-say-die" spirit after they nearly hunted down a target of 146 in 13 overs on a track he described as "turning" and "two-paced".

That chase came on the back of a career-best 6 for 47 from fast bowler Yo Mahesh which opened up the slim possibility of a result in the game by knocking over Haryana for 200, after they had been 114 for 0 midway through the first session.

"It's an unbelievable team effort, being a part of this game was an honour," Vijay told ESPNcricinfo. "It was a great experience, and to do so well in what is basically our first match of the tournament (their first round Ranji match was almost entirely rained out) gives us a lot of confidence."

Tamil Nadu's strong showings in recent years has been due to their formidable batting unit, which includes the likes of Vijay, Abhinav Mukund and Dinesh Karthik but Vijay said he was initially uncertain about the possibility of winning the game. "I never really thought 146 in 13 overs was chaseable," he said, "but then Dinesh gave us the sort of start we needed."

Karthik provided the early momentum during the course of a 32-ball 55, but Vijay says the belief began to grow after Haryana captain Amit Mishra was taken for 27 runs in the ninth over. Karthik started the over with a six, before Vijay hammered three more to propel Tamil Nadu to 99 for 3 - 47 adrift with four overs to go. "Me and Dinesh just wanted to stay there, we knew we could clear the boundaries, so we just decided to back our instincts and go for the shots."

Tamil Nadu lost two wickets, including that of Karthik, in the next two overs, leaving any chance of a victory in Vijay's hands. "We needed 23 in the final two overs. I knew if I stayed till the end we could chase it down." It boiled down to six off the final three deliveries, but Mahesh fell lbw to medium-pacer Sachin Rana, before Vijay was run out trying to get the strike for the final delivery. That left No. 10 Baba Aparajith needing to hit a six off the final ball, much like his team-mate Arun Karthik did in the Champions League Twenty20 last month for Royal Challengers Bangalore, but he could only get a single, and Tamil Nadu ended on 141 for 8.

Vijay said the finale was a great "adrenaline rush" but rued that Tamil Nadu could not get the five points they wanted, and had to settle for the three they get for a first-innings lead. "The real pleasure would have been if we won, but the match was a great learning experience for the entire team." He praised L Balaji's leadership, particularly in the morning when a dull draw seemed the most likely result. "All the credit has to go Bala. He kept pushing us, telling us to go for as many wickets as we could," Vijay said. "He told us to not get desperate for wickets, and to just give it a try. We hung in there and things started to happen."

Balaji and Tamil Nadu's decision to attempt an improbable chase is even more noteworthy as it comes a week after Goa captain Swapnil Asnodkar decided to back out of a pursuit of 130 in about 20 overs, a decision for which he was dropped for two matches.

Siddarth Ravindran is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • YadavAjay on November 15, 2011, 15:43 GMT

    @Hari Hara Sudha K: But here we are talking about test matches and not ODIs. @V.Rajaa: that is a very lame excuse, because a solid batsman should be defined only by his performance not his team's (or fellow player) and in that case he should have good done with any other partner. Don't you think so??? Even Tendulkar's case can be considered here. He was a very good batsman in 90s without much support from other side. But still he did well enough though the team never matched his potential.

  • V.Rajaa on November 15, 2011, 14:14 GMT

    adavAjay,even in first class games too,Mukund's average b4 his test debut was in mid 60s and got down after test match performances were added into his account. But, the thing is, he was not opened with any settled pair,and he looked like a guy who is upto it to succeed in this level.

    Though Rahane,deserves chances,his talk of not getting openers position just bcoz he had to change his position couple of seasons ago frm opening to middle order for mumbai.Guys, he can't be tried in every position.He is good at in the middle order,so be it and should stick with it.He could have opened few seasons ago 4 mumbai ,but team management thought he wd b a success in middle order,isn't it?Then how come for team india?Let rahane gets his chances,no issues.But pls leave the openers and option of opening for team india.Let the specialist openers takes that spot if it becomes vacant.Don't put viru's name here.Let him make debut 1st, little later v wd knw wr his avearge wd stand.

  • SamRoy on November 15, 2011, 11:19 GMT

    @Vilander because Vijay is a classy player of the front foot and a stroke less wonder of the backfoot. I am sure he will play well in any pitch devoid of bounce. If there is a semblance of bounce in the pitch he looks terrible.

  • kingcobra85 on November 15, 2011, 10:33 GMT

    @Haleos certain Nohit Sharma has played 67 matches with an average of 31.35 and guys call him the talent of the decade and test batsmen like no other and what not! Where as Murali Vijay has played only 11 matches so far and averages 17.81. So how is that giving enough chances ?

  • DINESHCC on November 15, 2011, 7:07 GMT

    CONSIDERING THE FALTERED CHASE IN THE 3RD TEST IN WI BY INDIA AND THE DECISION TAKEN BY THE GOAN CAPTAIN BY NOT CHASING 130 RUNS IN 20 OVERS AGAINST MAHARASHTRA, THIS CHASE AND ALSO BRENDON TAYLOR'S KNOCK AGAINST KIWI SHOWS THE SPIRIT OF CRICKET.

  • nilaksh on November 15, 2011, 5:38 GMT

    Well done TN, very few would have dared to attempt that. Dhoni should take a note of this and maybe when we tour Australia and have a chance to close out the series we don't sit back and say we are happy with a draw. I would much rather have my team loose the series in an attempt to win.

  • dummy4fb on November 15, 2011, 4:13 GMT

    @YadavAjay I think Hashu Gill was talking abt List A not the First CLass games!! Undoubtedly Mukund leads in List A averages!!!

  • YadavAjay on November 14, 2011, 17:10 GMT

    @Hashu Gill: Is that so??? I think there is a guy named Ajinkya Rahane who averages 69+ in first class. I think then rahane deserves more. @Nrayc Bong: mate, you are seriously ill to leave out Badrinath and mukund. still counting on Raina,Yuvraj????how many more chances they need to prove their worth? I think after 2-3 years team will look like: top 6 only. Gambhir,Sehwag,Mukund,rahane,pujara,Badrinath

  • Haleos on November 14, 2011, 13:19 GMT

    Vijay is a class act. What a joke. He has got enough chances. Only die hard TN fans will term him an international class. All talk no substance.

  • satish619chandar on November 14, 2011, 4:05 GMT

    He did perform in IPL and CLT20 in SA.. But most of his good innings in Chennai pitch only..

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