Aparajith, Washington lead TN into Vijay Hazare final with thrilling win over Saurashtra
TN needed seven runs off the final over and tail-enders R Sai Kishore and R Silambarasan brought it down to 1 off the last ball by Chirag Jani. Sai Kishore finished off the chase in style with a four
CHENNAI: With the depth in its batting, one would have expected Tamil Nadu to put up a professional display and go about its task but they huffed and puffed to a two-wicket win over Saurashtra in the semifinals of the Vijay Hazare trophy played at Jaipur on Friday.
Tamil Nadu needed seven runs off the final over and tail-enders R Sai Kishore (12 not out) and R Silambarasan (2 not out) brought it down to 1 off the last ball by medium-pacer Chirag Jani. Sai Kishore finished off the chase in style with a boundary.
Chasing 310 for a victory Tamil Nadu made 314 for 8 in 50 overs.
“It was a brilliant win where our tail-enders showed maturity and went about the task in a mature manner. The message to Sai Kishore in the final over was to take a run a ball and then go for a win in the final ball. Luckily things worked. Actually, we should have finished off earlier when B Aparajith and Washington Sundar were batting. Nevertheless, the lower middle order would have learnt how to go about in a close chase. Hopefully we will not repeat the same mistakes in the final,” said M Venkataramana, chief coach of the Tamil Nadu team.
Put in to bat, Saurashtra rode on a swashbuckling century (134) by Sheldon Jackson to post a challenging total. But Jackson's effort was overshadowed by B Aparajith's splendid century (122) and useful contributions from his twin brother Indrajith (50) and Washington Sundar (70).
Aparajith's innings was sublime with grace written all over it. It was perhaps one of his best innings at the top of the order in white-ball list A cricket.
“Aparajith played a brilliant inning. He paced the innings well, was judicious in shot selection and played for the team's cause as we needed a run-a-ball to win the game. Chasing three hundred plus in a knock-out game is not easy and thanks to his effort we were on course,” complimented the former India off spinner.
Washington, who has a first-class century to his credit, rose to the occasion. He played the role of finisher on Friday as Shahrukh Khan got out cheaply. “Washington played a mature and crucial innings. He adapted very well to the situation and played judiciously keeping the run-rate in mind. As long as he was there we were positive and confident that he will finish the job. Once he got out in the 49th over we did not panic as we believed that our tail will fight till the end,” said Venkataramana.
Tamil Nadu, who already won the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20s last month, will take on Himachal Pradesh in the final on Sunday as they chase their second title of the season.
Brief scores: Saurashtra 310/8 in 50 ovs (Sheldon Jackson 134, Arpit Vasavada 57; Vijay Shankar 4/72) lost to TN 314/8 in 50 overs (B Aparajith 122, Washington Sundar 70; Chetan Sakariya 5/62) by two wickets.