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Karthik ton guides Tamil Nadu to fifth Vijay Hazare title

Former Indian wicket-keeper batsman Dinesh Karthik scored a fluent century and the bowlers showed character with a disciplined line as Tamil Nadu beat Bengal by 37 runs in the Vijay Hazare Trophy final at the Feroz Shah Kotla in Delhi.

Karthik ton guides Tamil Nadu to fifth Vijay Hazare title
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The victorious TN team with the trophy in New Delhi

New Delhi

This was the third time that Tamil Nadu prevailed over Bengal in the 50-over competition, having beaten them in 2008—09 and 2009—10. Tamil Nadu won the tournament in 2002-03 as well and shared the trophy with Uttar Pradesh in 2004-05. 

Karthik (112) was the only significant scorer for Tamil Nadu in their total of 217 in 47.2 overs as Mohammed Shami bowled with a lot of fire, taking 4 for 26. Ashok Dinda (3/36) also rattled the top order. But the Tamil Nadu bowlers showed unbelievable discipline restricting Bengal to 180 on a pitch that didn’t have any demons. 

Off-spinner Washington Sundar (0/17) didn’t get wickets but kept the Bengal batsmen on tenterhooks in his eight-over spell. Rahil Shah, Aswin Crist and Mohammed Mohammed all chipped in to defend a small total. Trying to be extra cautious, Shreevats Goswami (23) consumed a lot of deliveries at the onset increasing the pressure. 

A poor call led to Abhimanyu Easwaran’s (1) run out. Bengal captain Manoj Tiwary (32) was bowled by his Tamil Nadu counterpart Vijay Shankar while trying to play across the line. It was a delivery that needed to be played on the front foot but he committed on the backfoot. 

Sudeep Chatterjee (58) and Anushtup Majumdar (24) added 65 runs for the fifth wicket for Bengal but a dodgy leg before off left-arm spinner Rahil Shah started another collapse. 

Chatterjee then played an atrocious sweep shot, only to get bowled round the legs off left-arm spinner Sai Kishore as Bengal’s hopes ended. Earlier, Karthik hit 14 boundaries to score more than 50 per cent of Tamil Nadu’s runs despite a good effort by the Bengal bowlers. 

The former India wicketkeeper played shots all around the wicket, playing the drives and pulls with equal ease. He lost partners at the other end but never stopped attacking as 91 runs from 20 overs bowled by Amir Gani (0/42 in 10 overs) and Pragyan Ojha (0/49 in 10 overs) proved crucial.

Brief scores: TN 217 in 47.2 overs (Dinesh Karthik 112, B Indrajith 32,  AB Dinda 3-36, Mohammed Shami 4-26) beat Bengal 180 in 45.5 overs (SD Chatterjee 58, Manoj Tiwary 32, Aswin Crist 2-23, M Mohammed 2-30, Rahil Shah 2-38) by 37 runs.

Tamil Nadu understand this format well: Badani

By Hari Hara Nandanan

Tamil Nadu’s win in the Vijay Hazare Trophy is further proof of the side’s credentials in the one-day format. Though TN have not won the Ranji Trophy title for many years, Vijay Hazare has been its hunting ground with five titles starting from the time of its inception in 2002.

Tamil Nadu are currently credited with the maximum titles in the One-Day Ranji Trophy, as the Hazare Trophy has been called unofficially. It also shows that the TN batsmen are better off in limited-over competition though Murali Vijay and Abhinav Mukund were part of the national team that played the Test matches against Australia. 

Incidentally, both Vijay and Mukund hit hundreds in the Vijay Trophy final when TN beat Bengal the last time they met in 2010. Though TN did not do all that badly in the Ranji Trophy this time reaching the semi-finals, their skills in the shorter formats outreached their prowess in the longer formats. 

“That is because they understand this format well,” says Hemang Badani, who captained TN when they tied with UP in the 2005 Vijay Hazare final and won it jointly. Incidentally, TN had also won the T20 national title (Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy) in its inaugural year in 2007 beating Punjab. 

“We had a young side in 2005 when we ended up on the same score with UP. Dinesh (Karthik) was just coming up. Now Hrishikesh too has a young side but Karthik’s contribution has been the difference. With two hundreds and one 80 and a 70,” added Badani, who said the side lacked a good bowling unit in the longer format. 

Former Tamil Nadu left-arm spinner said the side capped a season where the team played consistent, solid cricket. 

“Excellent captaincy by Vijay Shankar and feel happy for Dinesh Karthik, who has always been scoring in all the tough games for TN over the years and this victory is a fitting contribution to his contribution,” said Subramaniam.

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