Vijay Hazare Trophy: Karnataka set up final date with Tamil Nadu
BENGALURU: Karnataka turned in a clinical performance as they cruised to a nine-wicket win over Chhattisgarh to make the Vijay Hazare Trophy final at the M Chinnaswamy stadium here on Wednesday.
Karnataka's rookies V Koushik (4/46) and Devdutt Padikkal (92, 98b, 7x4, 3x6) together with KL Rahul (88n.o, 111b, 6x4, 1x6) and Mayank Agarwal (47 n.o, 33b, 3x4, 4x6) ran riot to ensure a spot in the title round. The battle for silverware on Friday will be a Southern Derby, with Tamil Nadu winning the other semifinal against Gujarat by five wickets.
The hallmark of Karnataka's win was the collective effort. While Koushik walked away with a clutch of wickets, Abhimanyu Mithun (2/44) and the spin duo of Pravin Dubey (2/43) and K Gowtham (2/30) were equally impressive as they subjected Chhattisgarh to intense pressure. It told with Chhattisgarh being restricted to 223.
Rather than rework the batting order to slot Mayank at the top, Karnataka decided to stick to the tried and tested pair. Rahul and Padikkal walked out to kick off the chase with Mayank, who joined the team from Ranchi on Tuesday night, coming in at No 3.
The match began under overcast conditions but the skies had cleared considerably by noon, making it ideal for batting. Rahul and Padikkal were unhurried at the start but focused and intense. It was hard to say Padikkal was playing his maiden List A season as he impressed with his strokeplay and his ability to find the boundary when needed.
Much like their previous opening stands, Rahul was left to play catch-up. The duo brought up the team's 50 in the 16th over and then launched an all-out attack against the spinners. The 100 came up a mere eight overs later.
Padikkal seemed on course to his third century of the tournament but mistimed a cut shot and had his stumps uprooted by Ajay Mandal. The opening stand yielded 155 runs.
Mayank then joined Rahul and they upped the run chase, tearing into Chhattisgarh's spinners. Rahul signalled the win with a six.
Overnight rain ensured plenty of moisture in the air and Karnataka skipper Manish Pandey predictably decided to chase. Handed the new ball, the 27-year-old Koushik did what he does best. He got the ball to move both ways, extracted bounce and troubled the batsmen with a teasing line.
He struck in the first over when Shashank Singh, who was promoted up the order, took a swing at a delivery which was well outside off-stump and edged to Rahul who kept the wickets. Koushik continued to lure the opposition batsmen into rash strokes with his line. Jiwanjyot Singh was the next to go, handing Mayank a catch at slip, while Ashutosh Singh went after a delivery which was angled away, and edged to Rahul.
With Chhattisgarh's total at 49 for 3, Karun Nair dropped Amandeep Khare at first slip and he went on to make a patient 102-ball-78 (4x4), adding 43 runs for the sixth wicket with Ajay Mandal. He then built a 54-run, eighth-wicket partnership with Sumit Ruikar (40, 37b, 1x4, 2x6) to lend some respectability to Chhattisgarh's total before being dismissed by Mithun.
TN stretch unbeaten run
Tamil Nadu stretched their unbeaten run in the Vijay Hazare Trophy to 11 matches as they stormed into the final with a five-wicket win over Gujarat on Wednesday. Chasing 178 for victory, Tamil Nadu rode on skipper Dinesh Karthik's run-a-ball 47 and Shahrukh Khan's unbeaten 56 (46b, 3x4, 3x6) to overhaul the target with an over to spare.