Vijay Hazare: Mukund blitzkrieg powers Tamil Nadu to easy win

On Wednesday, Abhinav Mukund showed yet again how effective he could be in white-ball cricket.

Despite a stellar average of above 50 in List A cricket, and a healthy strike rate of 81, Mukund has always been perceived as a long format player.   -  K. PICHUMANI

Continuing his purple patch in the tournament, Abhinav Mukund slammed an unbeaten 131 as Tamil Nadu beat Tripura in the Vijay Hazare Trophy match here.

Despite a stellar average of above 50 in List A cricket, and a healthy strike rate of 81, the left-hander has always been perceived as a long format player.

But on Wednesday, he showed yet again how effective he could be in white-ball cricket with a blistering inning which comprised 13 boundaries and six sixes.

Mukund started with two straight drives, one each off pacer Rana Datta and Abhijit Sarkar and quickly moved to 17 with four shots to the fence.

He then hammered three boundaries off one Sarkar over — one through third man, a cut through point and a pull to square leg boundary to move into the 30s. He brought his 50 off just 41 balls.

Mukund goes on a rampage

Mukund, who already has four half-centuries, did not spare the two left-arm spinners, Harmeet Singh and Abhijit Chakraborty, taking the aerial route with confidence and conviction.

Mukund quickly moved from 64 to 90 with two fours and sixes before bringing up his first hundred of the tournament off 82 balls.

Speaking after the match, Mukund said, “After the last match, I was unhappy I didn't finish the game. So today I wanted to ensure I was there till the end and I am happy it worked out well.”

Asked if it was a conscious decision to be aggressive and break the perception of being a long-format player, the 28-year old said, “Not at all. I can't do anything about the perception which is created by someone else and I have lived with that all my career. But if people looked at my numbers, they might think differently.”

Tripura falters after promising start

Earlier, electing to bat, Tripura started off well after losing an early wicket to debutant pacer Athisiyaraj Davidson. Opener Smit Patel scored a beautiful half-century before the TN spinners fought back and kept chipping away at the wickets.

The right-handed Patel dealt in boundaries. He was particularly severe on TN skipper Vijay Shankar picking four boundaries including two off one over, a cut and a pull.

The opener got to his fifty with a sneaky boundary, edging Rahil Shah through the slips with his tenth boundary of the day before spinner C.V. Varun had him bowled.

From there, Tripura kept losing wickets regularly, slumping from 84 for two to 150 for eight with Davidson picking two wickets off consecutive deliveries.

Tailender Sarkar then produced a few lusty blows and got his side close to a 200, before Varun and Shah cleaned up the last two wickets.

The scores:

Tripura 196 in 46.4 overs (Smit K Patel 60, Ninad Kadam 31, V. Athisayaraj Davidson three for 46) lost to Tamil Nadu 197 for two in 31.2 overs (N. Jagadeesan 40,  Abhinav Mukund 131 n.o.).

Points: Tamil Nadu 4; Tripura 0

Haryana 247 for seven in 50 overs (Shubham Rohilla  32,  Himanshu Rana 67, Pramod Chandila  34,  Jayant Yadav 47 n.o., Chintan Gaja three for 44) bt Gujarat 203 in 46.1 overs (Rujul Bhatt 30, Manprit Juneja 38, Chirag Gandhi 52, Jayant Yadav three for 35).

Points: Haryana 4; Gujarat  0   

Team Rajasthan 218 for eight in 50 overs (Abhijeet Tomar 38, Manendra Singh 50, Salman Khan 60, Parvez Rasool three for 36) lost to J & K  179 for seven 35.3 overs (VJD method) (Shubham Khajuria 57, Ian Dev Singh 51, Rahul Chahar three for 37).

(There was a rain interruption during the lunch interval, J & K revised target 179 in 36 overs)

Points: J & K 4; Team Rajasthan  0