Designer tracks back in vogue
- Mad rush, chaos as Arvind Kejriwal takes local train to woo 'aam aadmi' in Mumbai
- SC defers hearing on Sahara's plea on releasing Subrata Roy
- IAF aircraft on standby for missing Malaysian Airlines search ops
- Presidential delay in mercy petitions: SC won't reconsider verdict
- Lalu loyalist-turned rebel Ram Kripal Yadav joins BJP
The first day's play in the last round of league matches this Ranji season have seen a flurry of wickets fall. The most extreme matches, however, have been the Group B game at Chepauk featuring Bengal and Tamil Nadu which has seen 16 wickets fall, while another Group B match between Saurashtra and Services at Rajkot has had a 19-wicket day. In the latter game, spinners have picked 17 wickets — including 8 by two part timers from the Services team.
Both games have something in common — they are must win games for the home team. Both sides in the TN-Bengal match need an outright win to reach the knock out stage. Saurashtra too, desperately require an outright win with a bonus point to boost their own chances of going through.
In group C as well, 12 wickets have fallen in Porvorim where hosts Goa need to beat Andhra Pradesh to have a realistic chance of going through.
This isn't all that unusual. For all the chatter about sporting wickets that curators indulge in at the start of the season, the desperation for a result has the home team tweak the advantage in, what is hopefully, their favour. The result need not only be to qualify for the next stage but even to get out of the relegation zone.
In the 2010/11 season, Saurashtra needed to beat Assam at Rajkot to stay in the Elite Group. On a ground where scores of 582/4d, 30/1,492, 354/9d, 194/2, 415, 107/6, 338, 423 and 569/7 had been piled up, Saurashtra beat Assam in a game which featured scores of 140, 235, 127 and 76.
The Rajkot pitch hasn't been as bountiful this season, featuring scores of 475/7 declared, 136, 308, 632/7 declared, 51/0, 353, 400, 265/9 declared, 311 and 115. Even so, Monday's scores of 72 and 176/9 are indeed unprecedented.