Chennai: Heavyweights Tamil Nadu predictably entered the semi-final of the Ranji Trophy defeating minnows Maharashtra by virtue of huge first innings lead at the Chepauk, on Thursday.
The 183-run first innings lead became a clincher for Laxmipathy Balaji and Co who would now meet 39-time champions Mumbai in the semi-final, at the Wankhede Stadium from January 10-13.
Maharashtra openers Harshad Khadiwale (105, 183 balls, 9x4) and Chirag Khurana (102, 230 balls, 12x4) scored centuries but couldn`t really force the pace eventually declaring at 321 for four in 95 overs.
Having consumed 66 overs in the day and two overs deducted for change-over, Tamil Nadu were left to score 139 in 22 overs which included 15 mandatory overs. The hosts never went for the chase and the match was called off after 14 overs. Tamil Nadu were 45 for one when umpires called time. Abhinav Mukund remained not out on 21 with Sunny Gupta for company.
The match was as good as over on the third day itself when Tamil Nadu went on to post a score in excess of 400. The youngsters from Maharashtra didn`t have enough time and also lacked expertise to turn the tables from such a difficult situation.
However Tamil Nadu`s real test will be how the encounter a hostile Mumbai side at latter`s home den. Not many teams have been able to get past Mumbai at the Wankhede Stadium in crunch matches.
In another development, Peter Hartley of England will officiate in the semi-final at Mumbai, as part of the Umpire Exchange Programme between the BCCI and the ECB.