Tamil Nadu claimed the Vijay Hazare Trophy for the fifth time with a 37-run win over Bengal at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium. TN who had last won the premier domestic one-day tournament in 2009-10, had shared the title with Uttar Pradesh in 2004-05.
Powered by Dinesh Karthik’s determined century, TN set the opposition a 218-run target even as the Ashoke Dinda-led attack put-up a disciplined performance to keep the line-up in check. The TN bowling attack complemented by good fielding then bowled Bengal out for 180 to clinch victory.
Ganga Sridhar Raju was the first to be sent back, done in by the bounce while Dinda knocked by Kaushik Gandhi’s off-stump as the ball took the inside edge and hit the woodwork. Karthik who walked in at 26 for two, then got off the mark with a boundary. The highest run-scorer of the tournament showed intent as he held the fort even as wickets continued to fall at regular intervals.
With TN on 36, Baba Aparajith was adjudged lbw off Shami. 13 runs later, Dinda forced an edge from Vijay Shankar through to the wicketkeeper to send the opposition on the backfoot. However, Karthik continued to fight back and played some crisp shots as he found the gaps to keep the scoreboard ticking. He was complemented by Baba Indrajith in rebuilding the wobbly innings. The pair put together 85 runs for the fifth wicket until Indrajith was run out.
Karthik the looked to stitch a stand with young MS Washington Sundar as he shaped the TN innings patiently. However, looking for a non-existent single, Sundar, sent back by the senior partner too was run out at the non-striker’s end.
Karthik soon reached his century with a reverse-sweep as he carried the innings forward with Aswin Crist. However, he soon lost another partner as Aswin edged Kanisk Sheth to the ‘keeper leaving the side on 200 for seven. 12 runs later Shami dealt a double blow by claiming M Mohammed and R Sai Kishore. With the last batsman for company the middle-order bat strove to add useful runs however, was out hit wicket with 25 balls left in the innings. Looking for a big hit, the batsman dislodged the bails in the follow through and the remarkable innings came to an unfortunate end for 112 runs.
With a modest total on the board, Shreevats Goswami and AR Eswaran opened the innings for Bengal. However, with just four runs on the board, Eswaran was run out while Aswin knocked back Agviv Pan's off-stump. That brought to the crease skipper, Manoj Tiwary. With the opener he added 33 runs until Goswami struck Rahil Shah towards the midwicket region and Vijay Shankar took a superb catch to leave Bengal on 37 for three.
With the early strikes the match was hanging in the balance as there was little choose between both sides at the stage. Sudip Chatterjee, who then took guard opposite his skipper strove to keep Bengal in the chase. He had stitched a 31-run stand with Manoj when the captain was bowled by his opposite number. Chatterjee then worked with Anustup Mujumdar to keep the side in the game. Playing watchfully the pair had added 65 runs fifth wicket until Mujumdar was given out lbw coming down the track to Aparajith.
Facing an unphill task, Chatterjee looked to strive on but 10 runs later found his stumps dismantled by Kishore after compiling 58 runs. With the fall of the last specialist batsman leaving the team on 143 for six, the balance tipped in TN’s favour. Having hit a big six, in the previous over, Shami looking to go for another big hit stepped out to Shah and was stumped for eight. 16 runs later, Pragyan Ojha too departed taking the aerial route while Dinda was castled by Aswin, leaving the team on 172 for nine. Amir Gani, who had toiled to keep the innings afloat, claimed by Mohammed to wrap-up the game.