At the end of a thrilling Vijay Hazare Trophy final between Tamil Nadu and Himachal Pradesh, it is the Himachal side that has managed to get the better of Tamil Nadu and register 11 runs win in Jaipur. While Himachal Pradesh elected to field first in the titular clash and appeared to have made easy work of a high-pressure match especially when they sent back 4 of the opposition batters back to the pavilion for just 40 runs, veteran Tamil Nadu cricketer Dinesh Karthik’s superb hundred brought the South Indian state back into the match.
Along with Baba Indrajith, Karthik added 202 runs making more than just bringing Tamil Nadu back into the match but also allowing them a platform for a finish. The finish did come, courtesy of a quickfire 42 from 21 balls from designated finisher Shahrukh Khan which helped Tamil Nadu finish with a competitive 314.
Although the Vijay Shankar-led side could be forgiven if at all they thought the total was enough given the scoreboard pressure and the occasion, Himachal Pradesh had other ideas. Shubham Arora (136*) rose to the occasion and made a splendid hundred. His teammates ensured that his valiant effort does not go in vain as along with Amit Kumar (74 from 79 balls) and Rishi Dhawan (42*), Arora not only took the team close to their target but made sure Himachal were ahead when bad-light kicked in, ensuring a victory thanks to the VJD method.
Earlier, Pankaj Jaswal had been the pick of the bowlers for Himachal as he scalped 4 wickets for 59 runs, ensuring that Tamil Nadu do not play their full quota of 50 overs and get bowled out with 2 balls remaining. Later, Tamil Nadu bowlers did try but just could not go past Arora whose dominant innings demoralised the defending team rather quickly.
While Karthik’s hundred came with the help of 8 boundaries and 7 sixes, Arora’s innings contained 13 fours and a solitary six. On a day when one witnesses two masterful innings from batters of opposing camps, one had to end on a losing cause and unfortunately it was Karthik’s 116 that wasn’t enough for Tamil Nadu to win the final.