Aakash Chopra puts Rajasthan ahead in Ranji | cricket | Hindustan Times
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Aakash Chopra puts Rajasthan ahead in Ranji

Rajasthan cricket is reliving its glorious past at the moment but the event marking it is looking anything but gala.

cricket Updated: Jan 03, 2011 23:54 IST
Khurram Habib

Rajasthan cricket is reliving its glorious past at the moment but the event marking it is looking anything but gala. Fog delayed the sun but when it broke out Rajasthan batsmen made hay in the Ranji semi-final against former champions Tamil Nadu. Sadly there was hardly anyone to witness it.

Aakash Chopra (115*) found his old self, cocooned in his shell. The former India and Delhi opener left everything doubtful outside off to rack up his third ton of the season.

Vineet Saxena, an old hand in this line-up and Chopra's opening buddy grafted for 72 as the duo put on their first 100-run partnership.

But then, there was no thunderous applause for the two in Rajasthan whites. That, it seems, is reserved for the Rajasthan Royals here at the Sawai Man Singh Stadium.

For those interested in records, the match could mean a lot. Here is Rajasthan's first chance to make the final after the glory years in the 60s and 70s when they entered it many times.

They have a strong Tamil Nadu, with the likes of L Balaji, on the ropes. At 236 for 1 after first day's play, they have wrested the initiative.

But the going was slow and a battle people craving for instant gratification would turn their backs on. For them, the racy nature of Royals' Pathans and Watsons matters. Chopra and Co's less than 3 per over could have been a lullaby. However, Chopra, who once warded off McGrath & Co with equal dourness, had no complaints.

"If you live in a jungle, you live by its rules," he said unapologetically. "It is a long format and we wouldn't mind it (batting Tamil Nadu out of the game)."

He has a point since victory is what matters. This is what they did against Mumbai in the quarterfinals.

Put into bat on a juicy strip, they've done the hard work of seeing the dangerous period off. They were helped by Tamil Nadu bowlers bowling short. Only Balaji impressed from among the four-pronged pace attack though he was left frustrated. Now, it is Rajasthan's game to lose specially after the manner in which they batted on Monday.