CHENNAI: Bowling has been the strong point for Haryana and on Tuesday, needing a win against Tamil Nadu to qualify for the knockout stages of Vijay Hazare Trophy, they came to the party with bat and ball. First up, a whirlwind unbeaten 91 by Rahul Tewatia took Haryana past the 300-run mark. Later, he combined with fellow spinners Jayant Yadav and Amit Mishra to restrict Tamil Nadu to 233/9. The 77-run win put Haryana on top of Elite Group C. Jharkhand, who have a game to play, have also qualified from this group.
Choosing to bat on a placid IIT-Chemplast track, Haryana, despite getting off to a decent start, appeared to throw it away. From 56/0, they found themselves at 159/5 with the top-order barring Himanshu Rana back in the hut. But Tewatia provided unlikely company as the duo stitched an unbroken 151-run partnership for the sixth wicket in 15.2 overs. Tamil Nadu’s attack — in need of a win — failed to inspire.
Chasing a huge target, Tamil Nadu caved under pressure as Haryana tweakers took the match away. “Pleased to enter the quarters. It was teamwork that helped us perform to potential and enter the next stage. We have a good bowling unit that can unsettle any line-up on a given day. In Yuzvendra Chahal, Jayant and Mohit Sharma, we have experience. They know how to go about their job and it helps as a captain,’’ said Haryana skipper Mishra.
Mishra believes the win against the hosts will give them a boost ahead of the quarterfinals, where they are likely to face one among Maharashtra, Andhra and Bihar. Mishra thinks Haryana’s all-round attack which has a good combination of pacers and spinners, will give them the upper hand. “It’s the variety. I’m a bowler who loves to flight the ball and deceive batsmen. You have Chahal who attacks from the first ball. We both complement each other. Then there is Jayant who takes wickets with his nagging accuracy. Mohit gives us vital breakthroughs at the beginning and the death,” he explained.
However, the batting still remains an area of concern. Sans big names, they sent Jayant in at No 3 and Mishra batted at No 6. With more bowling-all-rounders in the mix, it remains to be seen how the side will respond to chasing big totals. But Mishra remains unfazed.
When asked if batting was a concern, he said, “No I do not think so. We may be known as a good bowling side. But you see whenever the wicket was good, we have scored 250. Today on a good track, we made above 300. So you cannot say our team cannot bat. We know that we still have to improve our batting and we are working on it. On a given day, a particular player may fail and another may get going. The set player should finish the task. Our lower middle order did that today,’’ opined Mishra, who took two for 40 in his 10 overs.