Tamil Nadu sailed into the Vijay Hazare Trophy 2016-17 final with a six-wicket win against Baroda at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium in New Delhi. The TN spin attack - R Sai Kishore (4/59), MS Washington Sundar (2/20) and Rahil Shah (2/36) restricted the opponents to 219 after Baroda elected to bat. Chasing a competitive target, Dinesh Karthik then set up the chase with a patiently compiled 77 (off 107) while skipper Vijay Shankar took the team across the line with an unbeaten half-century.
Earlier, the openers – Kedar Devdhar and Aditya Waghmode - bided their time at the crease to get the team off to a steady start. The pair had put together 92 runs at little over four runs an over until Devdhar pulled Sai Kishore towards square-leg and departed for 46. Sundar dealt a double blow that reduced Baroda to 123 for three. After the young spinner caught the opener off his own bowling, he disrupted Deepak Hooda’s stumps later in the over. 15 runs later a superb catch by M Mohammed in the deep mid-wicket region sent back Krunal Pandya, who was looking for a big hit off Shah. And Yusuf Pathan too departed taking the aerial route to the left-arm spinner off the next ball pegging the team back further.
Chasing the modest target, TN lost both openers early in the innings and were left on 35 for two. While Kaushik Gandhi edged Sheth to the wicketkeeper, Ganga Sridhar Raju was bowled by the pacer. Dinesh then joined Baba Aparajith in building the foundation for the chase. The wicketkeeper-batsman diligently anchored the innings to keep the chase on course.
The Aparajith-Karthik pair watchfully stitched a 60-run partnership with singles and twos to keep the match evenly poised. After the top-order bat departed taking the aerial route off Soeeb Tai, the captain joined the experienced No. 4 batsman in carrying the chase forward. The duo steadily chipped into the Baroda attack and seized the momentum from the opposition. With an unhurried 88-run stand for the fourth wicket they tipped the balance in TN’s favour. With the team on 183, Dinesh was bowled by Sheth.
Sundar then joined Vijay Shankar in taking the team to the target. They milked the Baroda bowlers to seal the win with 15 balls to spare. The TN captain was unbeaten on 53 while the middle-order batsman was not out on 26 as they took the team to the final.