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Ranji Trophy | Deshpande and Kotian elated after rewriting records

Mumbai’s Tushar Deshpande and Tanush Kotian on day 5 of the Ranji Trophy quarterfinal against Baroda in Mumbai on Febraury 27, 2024.
| Photo Credit: Emmanual Yogini

Tanush Kotian and Tushar Deshpande have a lot in common. Both are sons of club cricketers who dreamt their sons would achieve what they couldn’t. Both started off as batters before making a name primarily as a bowler. On February 27, the duo joined together to rewrite record books on the last day of Mumbai’s Ranji Trophy quarterfinal against Baroda.

Having added 42 runs for the last wicket on the fourth evening, Kotian and Deshpande resumed their association to add a whopping 190 runs more off 30 overs at the Sharad Pawar Cricket Academy.

As a result, the duo became only the second No. 10 and No. 11 batters to score a hundred in the same First Class match.

On the cusp of overhauling Ajay Sharma and Maninder Singh’s 233-run partnership for Delhi against Mumbai in the 1991-92 semifinal at Wankhede Stadium – the highest stand for the last wicket in Ranji Trophy – Deshpande was dismissed.

“We did get a message an over or two earlier but these are all materialistic things. We are very happy that we could play according to the merit of the ball and take the game completely away from the opposition,” said an elated Deshpande.

Monkey off his back

For Kotian, more than the missed record, crossing the 90s barrier for the third time after succumbing on 93 and 98 in each of the last two seasons meant a lot. “I had ten fifties before the game and for me it was a crucial innings because of the timing.

“I was telling myself ke karna hai yeh ab (that you have to do it now). I was talking to Tushar and planning on which bowler we can go after,” he said.

Having started off as a batter in Kalyan, almost 70 km from south Mumbai, Deshpande was an accidental fast bowler.

When he was 12, he travelled to Shivaji Park for a summer camp trial and watching only eight-ten players in the bowlers’ queue, switched over from the batters’ queue that was at least six times longer.

Kotian, meanwhile, is the son of a tennis-ball cricket legend in Vikhroli, a central suburb and has emerged as a key all-rounder for Mumbai.

In elite company

# Tanush Kotian and Tushar Deshpande became the first pair of No. 10 and No. 11 to score a hundred in the same innings in Ranji Trophy.

# The duo recorded only the second such instance in First Class cricket after Chandu Sarwate and Shute Banerjee did it for India against Surrey in 1946-47.

# Tushar Deshpande’s 123 is the highest individual score for a No. 11 batter in Ranji Trophy history, eclipsing Vidyut Sivaramakrishnan’s 115 for Tamil Nadu vs Delhi in 2000-01.

# Tanush Kotian and Tushar Deshpande’s partnership of 232 was the second-highest for the last wicket in Ranji Trophy history, one run shot of Ajay Sharma and Maninder Singh’s 233 for Delhi vs Mumbai in 1991-92

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