CHENNAI: After their loss to Mumbai in the Ranji Trophy semifinals, Tamil Nadu narrowly failed to top the South Zone league table in the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 Championships. But it has been a glorious revival, as they first won the Vijay Hazare Trophy, and on Wednesday, the Deodhar Trophy.
Riding on Dinesh Karthik’s 126 and useful contributions from N Jagadeesan, TN set India B a target of 304. The bowlers then got the opposition out for 261, with the spin troika of R Sai Kishore, Rahil Shah and Washington Sundar accounting for 6 wickets.
This despite missing some key players during both triumphs. Ahead of the Deodhar Trophy, their most successful bowler in the Vijay Hazare, Aswin Crist (20 scalps), was picked in the India squad for the ACC Emerging Cup in Bangladesh, along with trusted middle-order batsman B Aparajith.
But TN’s bench strength again came to the fore. Jagadeesan chipped in with three straight fifties, while spinners (including M Ashwin) ensured batsmen had a tough in the middle (20 wickets in total). Add to it the remarkable form Karthik is in (247 runs – highest of the meet).
“There’s great camaraderie. Everyone wants the best for others and this team spirit has translated into on-field performances. This victory is for the entire squad, as well as the support staff. The fitness work we’ve done has also helped, considering the amount of matches we’ve played over the last month and a half,” skipper Vijay Shankar told Express.
TN displayed remarkable consistency, losing only twice in their last 12 matches. “We could’ve gone into a shell after the Mustaq Ali T20s, but we kept striving harder. We could’ve been satisfied with the Vijay Hazare, but decided to end the season on a high. And the hard work has paid off,” he added.
Facing off against India stars can be a daunting task for most youngsters. However, the victors were not overawed, and case in point was the performance of Sai Kishore. After making his debut in the Vijay Hazare quarterfinals, he has gone from strength to strength, ending as the second-highest wicket-taker, with 9 scalps.
“The captain and team management have backed the youngsters to perform. All of us have clearly defined roles, and the clear lines of communication have ensured we perform to the best of our abilities,” he noted.
Tamil Nadu 303/9 in 50 ovs (Karthik 126, Jagadeesan 55; Kulkarni 5/39) bt India B 261 in 46.1 ovs (Gurkeerat 64; Rahil Shah 3/40).