Left-handed Hari did bulk of the scoring for Tamil Nadu, which posted a mammoth 189 for five in its regulation overs after being invited to bat. His match-winning knock was laced with eight fours and three maximums. Skipper Dinesh Karthik played a cameo towards the end of the innings, hitting three boundaries and four sixes during his 17-ball 46.
Facing an uphill task, Ishan Kishan-led Jharkhand could only manage 123 for seven in its 20 overs, courtesy a fine performance from the new-ball pairing of R Sonu Yadav (3 for 31 in 4 overs) and Sandeep Warrier (2 for 22 in 3 overs). While a few others too made a meaningful contribution for the victor, 24-year-old Hari, who recorded the highest score in his nascent T20 career, was the star of the show.
“A couple of weeks back, we had a few practice matches for the Tamil Nadu probables in Chennai. I did well in them. So, it was about carrying that form into a big stage like SMAT. I just wanted to prove a point and bat as long as possible. I had a good start and the innings went on well for me,” Hari told DT Next from Kolkata.
Taking to the field alongside his Coimbatore mate Narayan Jagadeesan (27 off 28 balls), southpaw Hari was cautious in his approach in the first few powerplay overs. However, he did show positive intent later on as the opening combination set the base with a 72-run stand for the first wicket.
“I was prepared to open the batting with Jagadeesan, who I have known for a long time. But at the Eden track, the ball stopped a bit and arrived. So, it was not easy for the batsmen to score freely. The plan was to not lose early wickets. Once we settled in, we looked to accelerate,” Hari explained Tamil Nadu’s approach in the early stages.
Following vice-captain Vijay Shankar’s dismissal, Hari shared a 98-run alliance with Karthik as the left-right duo took the game away from the opposition. Talking about the third-wicket stand, Hari said: “We had a good partnership out in the middle. Karthik guided me well and it was a great match experience.”
BRIEF SCORES: Tamil Nadu 189 for 5 in 20 overs (C Hari Nishaanth 92*, D Karthik 46) beat Jharkhand 123 for 7 in 20 overs (R Sonu Yadav 3/31, S Warrier 2/22)