CHENNAI: Tamil Nadu marched into the Super League stage of Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy with a resounding 113-run win over Vidarbha in their last Group B encounter in Thiruvananthapuram on Sunday. The win helped Dinesh Karthik‘s side top the table with 20 points from 6 games. Rajasthan (16) – despite finishing on the same number points as Vidarbha – made the Super League stage thanks to a superior net run-rate (NRR).
Karthik’s 32-ball 58 and Vijay Shankar‘s allround show – 26 with the bat and 3-12 with the ball – were instrumental in TN notching up their fifth win in the competition. Karthik, Baba Aparajith (33, 1×4, 2×6) and Shankar powered TN to 168/8. The bowlers then took centre-stage to bowl out Vidarbha for just 55 in 14.5 overs.
With TN openers – Murali Vijay (7) and Washington Sundar (5) – departing cheaply, Karthik took it upon himself to steady the ship. The Powerplay overs only fetched 38 runs for TN but from thereon, Karthik began to shift gears. In the company of Aparajith, Karthik added 83 for the third wicket in 8.1 overs to help the side cross the 100-run mark. Karthik’s innings contained 5 fours and 3 sixes, while Aparajith’s 27-ball essay contained one four and two sixes.
TN were pegged back after left-arm spinner Akshay Karnewar’s (2-27) stuck twice in the 13th over – getting rid of Karthik and Aparajith. However, cameos from Vijay Shankar and M Shahrukh Khan (19, 2×6) in the final overs helped TN end up with a strong total.
Left-arm spinner R Sai Kishore (3-9) started Vidarbha’s slide – as he had opener Jitesh Sharma (0) caught by Vijay Shankar – off the very third ball of the chase. Vidarbha’s chase never got going as they kept losing wickets. Only three of their batsmen – Shalabh Shrivastava (14), Akshay Wadkar (13) and Tushar Gill (16) reached double figures. Sai Kishore and Vijay Shankar were the most successful bowlers with three wickets apiece. “As a team our performance has been top-notch in this tournament. We have executed our plans well – both with the bat and ball. At an individual level, I am happy to have done my bit for the team’s cause,” Vijay Shankar told TOI.
The next stage in the tournament starts in Surat from November 21, and the 28-year-old is clear that TN won’t take the pedal off the accelerator. “The competition gets tougher from here on. The best aspect about this team is the way we have adapted to the conditions,” said Vijay Shankar.
Brief scores: Tamil Nadu 168-8 in 20 overs (D Karthik 58, B Aparajith 33, Vijay Shankar 26; Yash Thakur 3-23). Vidarbha 55 all out in 14.5 overs (Sai Kishore 3-9, Shankar 3-12). Tamil Nadu won by 113 runs