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Himachal, Tamil Nadu enter Vijay Hazare Trophy final

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Jaipur, Dec 24 (IANS) Himachal Pradesh and Tamil Nadu entered the 2021-22 Vijay Hazare Trophy final after beating Saurashtra and Services in semi-final 1 and semi-final 2 respectively, here on Friday.

Skipper Rishi Dhawan and Akash Vasisht’s brilliant all-around performances helped Himachal Pradesh reach their maiden Vijay Hazare Trophy final berth as they beat Services by 77 runs in the first semi-final at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium here.

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The duo put on an all-important 83-run partnership for the sixth wicket, making 84 and an unbeaten 45 respectively, to propel Himachal’s total to a competitive 281/6. They also picked six wickets between them to derail Services’ run chase.

A 74-run stand for the second wicket between Prashant Chopra (78 off 109) and Digvijay Rangi helped Himachal recover from an early setback. However, a mini-collapse during the middle overs left them reeling at 106 for 4 after being put in to bat first.

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From there on, skipper Dhawan joined hands with Chopra to build an 88-run stand, scoring a fluent 84 that came off 77 deliveries. After Chopra’s departure, Vasisht joined forces with the captain and chipped in a handy cameo of 45 off just 29 deliveries to help their side finish on a strong note.

In reply, Services’ chase suffered from lack of momentum as Dhawan dismissed both Lakhan Singh and Mohit Ahlawat in the space of six overs. Skipper Rajat Paliwal (55) and unbeaten opener Ravi Chauhan consolidated the innings but they consumed too many deliveries, allowing the asking rate to climb.

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Vasisht finally dismissed Chauhan on 45 at 24.4 overs, to end the 49-run partnership. He picked up his second wicket in quick succession. From 154 for 5 at the start of the 37th over, when skipper Paliwal departed on 55, Services lost wickets in clusters in the next 10 overs to bundle out for just 204.

Tamil Nadu vs Saurashtra

In another semi-final, Baba Aparajith’s knock of 122 outclassed Sheldon Jackson’s 134 and Chetan Sakariya’s brilliant fifer as Tamil Nadu entered the final with a narrow two-wicket victory over Saurashtra.

Jackson’s 125-ball 134 powered Saurashtra to an imposing total of 310/8 from their 50 overs. He stitched three useful partnerships – adding 92 for the second wicket with Vishvaraj Jadeja (52), 81 for the third wicket with Prerak Mankad (37), and 70 for the fourth wicket with Arpit Vasavada (57).

Vijay Shankar was the most successful bowler for Tamil Nadu with figures of 4 for 72 from his 10 overs.

In reply, Tamil Nadu were off to a great start as Sakariya removed N Jagadeesan and Vijay cheaply inside four overs to reduce the chasing side to 23 for 2. However, Aparajith then joined hands with his brother Baba Indrajith to forge a 97-run stand that helped the side claw their way back into the contest.

After Indrajith fell for a 58-ball 50, Aparajith added 48 runs for the fourth wicket with Dinesh Karthik and another 76 runs with Washington Sundar. He departed in the 43rd over after making a 124-ball 122, laced with a dozen boundaries and three sixes when TN were still 67 away.

Washington’s boundary-filled 70 led Tamil Nadu in the later stages of their chase even as Shakariya struck at regular intervals to bring more excitement into the game. His fifer included the prized scalp of Washington but it was too late as the allrounder had already done the damage.

In the end, Tamil Nadu needed nine off as many deliveries and the ninth wicket pair held their nerve to pull off the winning runs off the very last ball of the chase.

Brief scores:

Himachal Pradesh vs Services

Brief scores: Himachal Pradesh 281/6 in 50 overs (Rishi Dhawan 84, Prashant Chopra 78, Akash Vasisht 45*; Raj Bahadur 2-52) beat Services 204 all out in 46.1 overs (Rajat Paliwal 55, Ravi Chauhan 45; Rishi Dhawan 4-27, Akash Vasisht 2-28) by 77 runs

Tamil Nadu vs Saurashtra

Saurashtra 310/8 in 50 overs (Sheldon Jackson 134, Arpit Vasavada 57, Vishvaraj Jadeja 52; Vijay Shankar 4-72, R Silambarasan 3-54) lost to Tamil Nadu 314/8 in 50 overs (Baba Aparajith 122, Washington Sundar 70, Baba Indrajith 50; Chetan Sakariya 5-62) by 2 wickets

–IANS

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