Tamil Nadu clinched the Vijay Hazare Trophy after Bengal faltered in the chase by 37 runs at the Feroz Shah Kotla stadium here on Monday. Dinesh Karthik’s fighting century (112) laid the foundation of Tamil Nadu’s innings after they elected to bat. Seamers Ashok Dinda (3/36) and Mohammad Shami (4/26), who joined the team for the final, rocked the Tamil Nadu batting but Karthik’s counter-attacking knock on a helpful track took them to 217 in 47.3 overs.
For Bengal, barring Sudeep Chatterjee’s 58, none could stand up against the disciplined Tamil Nadu attack that put up a collective show and Manoj Tiwary’s men folded in for 180 in 45.5 overs. It was the fifth title for Tamil Nadu and their third victory over Bengal in the final.
Abhimanyu Easwaran (1) got himself run out against the mounting pressure of dot balls before Aswin Crist uprooted the off-stump of Agniv Pan. Chatterjee and Tiwary joined hands to stem the rot after Shreevats Gosawmi's flick ended at mid-wicket. However, Tiwary, looking to pull Vijay Shankar’s short delivery, missed the line to be bowled. Chatterjee and Anustup Majumdar raised 65 runs for the fifth wicket to keep Bengal in the hunt but once both were removed within three overs, the match had swung in Tamil Nadu's favour.
Earlier, Karthik paced his innings sensibly after Dinda reduced Tamil Nadu to 49/4 by the 11th over. Karthik forged useful partnerships –– the one with Baba Indrajith, producing 85 for the fifth-wicket, before two run outs further hurt Tamil Nadu. Indrajith was hit by Karthik’s drive when he set out for a single, but before he knew, Easwaran at the mid-on had clattered his stumps. Washington Sundar forged 38 runs for the sixth-wicket, but a mix-up with Karthik ended his stay.
Karthik though motored on unperturbed. He was rarely troubled by the Bengal bowlers, fluently driving on both sides of the pitch and squeezing out gaps at will. He brought his 50 with a cut to the backward point and was lucky to get a reprieve at 94 when he was dropped by Easwaran at point. A reverse sweep to the fence brought his century and brought Tamil Nadu on brink of 200-run mark.
Karthik's attempt to carry his bat was cut short when he was out hit-wicket on a wide toss from Shami. His dismissal also threw curtains on Tamil Nadu's innings but by then Karthik had taken them to the shores of safety.
Brief scores: Tamil Nadu: 217 all out in 47.2 overs (Dinesh Karthik 112, Baba Indrajith 32; Ashok Dinda 3-36, Mohammed Shami 4-26) bt Bengal: 180 all out in 45.4 overs (Manoj Tiwary 32, Sudip Chatterjee 58; A Aswin Crist 2-23, M Mohammed 2-30, Rahil Shah 2-38).