In the group stage of the Vijay Hazare trophy, Tamil Nadu seemed to regroup from the Ranji Trophy disaster. Their international stars returned and there were positive vibes all around. All seemed rosy, until hosts Bengal blew them away on an atypically seaming surface.
Dismissing Bengal for a paltry 167 in the quarterfinal at Eden Gardens, thanks to V Yo Mahesh’s vibrant effort (4 for 23), Tamil Nadu sure might have thought they had the match in their pockets. Their batsmen, including the experienced Murali Vijay, Dinesh Karthik and Subramaniam Badrinath, just had to turn up. The surface might have been assisting seamers, but generally it affects the team that bats first.
But a disciplined bowling effort by Bengal bowlers put them into their place. Tamil Nadu were bowled out for a meagre 90 in 33.5 overs, with only Test opener Vijay showing any resilience. Without M Mohammed and Lakshmipathy Balaji contributing 14 and 10 respectively, the scoreline would have looked gloomier for Tamil Nadu.
It was Mohammed Shami and Ashok Dinda who wreaked the initial havoc. Dinda induced an edge to second slip off Srikkanth Anirudha. Shami then ejected Baba Aparajith and Badrinath in successive overs. Dinda then accounted for Karthik before Shami saw off his Indian teammate R Ashwin to have Tamil Nadu reeling at 5 for 25.
The duo bowled with pace and procured swing. Shami's first spell read 6-0-13-3, while Dinda was more economical (7-3-12-2). But as long as Vijay kept going, Tamil Nadu were still in with a flicker of hope. He showed remarkable patience and judgment to survive on that strip for 85 balls.
But with wickets falling around him, Vijay might have reckoned the fruitlessness of being circumspect. He shimmied down the track to seamer Veer Pratap Singh but only managed to direct the ball to the long-leg. At 7 for 62, Tamil Nadu were beyond redemption. Balaji and Mohammed could only prolong the inevitable.
Bengal: Basu c Karthik b Mahesh 5, Goswami c Shah b Mohammed 22, Chatterjee b Mahesh 4, Tiwary b Mahesh 25, Saha lbw b Mahesh 1, Shukla b Shankar 30, Mondal c Aparajith b Shah 6, Lahiri b Shah 32, Pratap st Karthik b Ashwin 10, Shami lbw b Ashwin 0, Dinda (not out) 21, Extras (lb 2, w 9) 11, Total (all out; 42.1 overs) 167. Fall of wickets: 1-8, 2-24, 3-62, 4-63, 5-69, 6-95, 7-111, 8-129), 9-139. Bowling: Balaji 9-0-47-0, Mahesh 8-0-23-4, Mohammed 7-1-22-1, Ashwin 9-1-38-2, Shah 5.1-0-18-2, Shankar 4-0-17-1.
Tamil Nadu: Vijay c Mondal b Pratap 24, Anirudha c Chatterjee b Dinda 0 , Aparajith lbw b Shami 12, Badrinath c & b Shami 0, Karthik c Saha b Dinda 5, Ashwin lbw b Shami 0, Shankar c Chatterjee b Pratap 6. Mahesh c Chatterjee b Shukla 1, Balaji c Chatterjee b Shami 10, Mohammed b Dinda 14, Shah (not out) 2, Extras (lb4, w12) 16, Total (all out; 33.5 overs) 90. Fall of wickets: 1-1, 2-16, 3-18, 4-23, 5-25, 6-55, 7-62, 8-63, 9-82. Bowling: Dinda 9-4-13-3, Shami 8.5-0-25-4, Pratap 8-1-18-2, Shukla 8-2-30-1.