Tamil Nadu aims outright win against Baroda
Chennai: Tamil Nadu would be feeling the pressure to register an outright win against Baroda when the two sides meet in a Group `B` Ranji Trophy match starting here on friday.
With only eight points from four games, the 2011-12 runners-up sit at No.5 position in Group B while their opponents, Baroda, are placed at seventh position.
Tamil Nadu are playing their second home game of the season and it will be up to their bowlers to take the 20 wickets needed for a victory after drawing their last four games, including the previous tie against Saurashtra where they failed to defend their first innings total of 565 for eight.
This season has been a testing one for the hosts in the absence of their batting bulwarks, who are currently with the Indian team. The weak bowling department has not helped their cause either.
They took first-innings points against Services and Madhya Pradesh, the latter being asked to follow-on.
In their third match against Uttar Pradesh in Meerut, they squandered a position of strength after allowing the hosts to take a commanding first-innings lead.
Uttar Pradesh were struggling at 205 for 6 in reply to Tamil Nadu`s first innings score of 297 all out. The UP lower order, led by leg spinner Piyush Chawla, showed enough stomach for a fight to take them to 500 for nine decalred.
Tamil Nadu`s bowling will be under scrutiny after having bowled the opposition out only twice this season.
Skipper Lakshmipathy Balaji has carried the attack on his shoulders for most part of the previous Ranji seasons but he hasn`t always got the required support from other bowlers.
In this season, Tamil Nadu have taken ten wickets on only two occasions and Yo Mahesh was the only bowler to take a five-wicket haul.
On the other hand, Yusuf Pathan-led Baroda are cominginto the match on the back of their impressive 246-run victory against Madhya Pradesh.
After losing their matches against Railways and Uttar Pradesh, Baroda bolwers finally came good against MP and bowled them out twice for a paltry 60 and 90 in both the innings respectively.
The win propelled Baroda to seventh position ahead of Services and Rajasthan.
Baroda would be banking on the power-hitting of the senior Pathan, who hit an unbeaten 104 in the second innings against MP.
He also shown with the ball, finishing with a match figure of seven for 44.
The pitch at the MA Chidambaram Stadium has gotten slower since it was relaid and has often been blamed as one of the reasons for not producing enough results.
Tamil Nadu: L. Balaji (c), S. Badrinath (v-c), Abhinav Mukund, B. Aparajith, R. Prasanna, Dinesh Karthik, K.B. Arun Karthik, B. Indrajith, Vijay Shankar, Malolan Rangarajan, Aushik Srinivas, A. Aswin Crist, J. Kaushik, Rahil S. Shah and M. Mohammed.
Baroda: Yusuf Pathan (c), Ambati Rayudu, Utkarsh Patel, Bhargav Bhatt, Abhimanyu Chauhan, Kedar Devdhar, Gagandeep Singh, Ketan Panchal, Hardik Pandya, Ketul Patel, Babashafi Pathan, Pinal Shah, Rakesh Solanki, Murtuja Vahora, Aditya Waghmode and Saurabh Wakaskar.