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Bengal march into final

Centurions Goswami and Eswaran set up win against Jharkhand

Bengal booked themselves a place in the Vijay Hazare Trophy 2016-17 final with a 41-run win against Jharkhand at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium. Put in to bat by MS Dhoni, Shreevats Goswami (101 off 99) and AR Eswaran (101 off 121) set up the stage for a formidable target with a 198-run opening stand. While both openers scored centuries, Pragyan Ojha (5/71) and Co. helped defend the 329-run total in a hard-fought game.

After biding their time in the middle, the Bengal openers milked the Varun Aaron-led attack to set the tone for the innings. Having taken the measure of the situation, Goswami took the attack to the bowlers. While his half-century came-up off 60 balls, his next 50 runs came off 36 deliveries. Monu Kumar accounted for the opener to end the flourishing partnership. After adding 31 runs to the tally with Manoj Tiwary, Eswaran was run out by Pratyush Singh leaving the team on 229 for two in the 40th overs.

The Bengal skipper then led the charge from the front. He slammed seven boundaries and two sixes during his 49-ball 75-run unbeaten knock to set Jharkhand a 330-run target in the knock-out game. He was ably supported by the middle-order batsmen in adding quick runs in the last ten overs of the innings as the Jharkhand bowlers strove to create breakthroughs. While his stand with Agniv Pan was worth 41 runs, Manoj was involved in a 46-run partnership with Sudip Chatterjee. With Anustup Majumdar he then helped Bengal to 329 for four in their allotted quota of overs.

Kanishk Sheth then provided Bengal with the first breakthrough with the wicket of Pratyush with 26 runs on the board. A bit later Sayan Gosh followed up with the wicket of Virat Singh while Sheth claimed Kumar Deobrat to leave Jharkhand on 99 for three.

Dhoni then joined forces with Saurabh Tiwary. The pair had added 54 runs for the fourth wicket until Ashoke Dinda dismantled Saurabh’s stumps. With the side on 153 for four at the end of 31 overs, Ishank Jaggi joined his captain in fighting the uphill task. Batting at a brisk pace, the pair took the attack to the bowlers.

The Dhoni-Jaggi partnership added 97 runs to the total until Ojha castled Dhoni to tip the balance further in Bengal’s favour. The skipper returned to the pavilion for 70 off 62 which comprised four sixes and two boundaries. In the next over, Jaggi was trapped lbw by Gosh leaving the team on 258 for six. With 72 runs required off 32 balls, it was an improbable task and Ojha ran through lower-order. The spinner claimed four more wickets to finish with a five-for as he bowled Bengal to victory. 

BCCI Staff

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Tamil Nadu beat Baroda to enter final

Sai Kishore and Dinesh Karthik star in TN's six-wicket victory

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.

At 138 for five in the 33rd over, Pinal Shah joined Irfan Pathan as Baroda needed to up their ante. But then a disciplined bowling display kept the batters tied down. The duo added 44 runs for the sixth wicket until the skipper was sent back by Sai Kishore a little over ten overs later. Carrying on, Shah took the team to 212 with Swapnil Singh until he was sent back by Aswin Crist and in the next over, Sai Kishore dismantled the lower-order bat’s stumps. Lukeman Meriwala who had hit the spinner for a six over long on was stumped a ball later leaving the team on 218 for nine. With three balls left in the innings, the pacer accounted for Atit Sheth to bowl Baroda out for 219.

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.  

BCCI Staff

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