Vijay Hazare: Reprieved Bharat quashes Tamil Nadu's qualification hopes

The curtains came down on Tamil Nadu's poor domestic season, slumping to a 29-run defeat to Andhra to crash out of the Vijay Hazare trophy.

K.S.Bharat Andhra Vijay Hazare Trophy

K.S.Bharat of Andhra plays a shot against Tamil Nadu during the Vijay Hazare Trophy cricket match at Murugappa Ground in Chennai on Sunday.   -  M. Vedhan

Tamil Nadu’s domestic campaign started off on the wrong note against Andhra in the Ranji Trophy at home where it almost lost outright after conceding the first innings lead.

On Sunday, the curtains came down on its poor season, slumping to a 29-run defeat to Andhra to crash out of the Vijay Hazare trophy. While Andhra remain unbeaten with four wins and is inching closer to qualification, TN lost its fourth consecutive match in five games.

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Chasing 277 for victory, the defending champion's chase never got going with no batsman coming out with an aggressive innings to take the fight to the opposition.

After losing opener V. Ganga Sridhar Raju early, M. Kaushik Gandhi and N. Jagadeesan came together for a solid partnership running well between the wickets but struggled to find the boundaries.

Both Kaushik and Jagadeesan were set in their 40’s but failed to accelerate and capitalise on the start with the former holding out to mid wicket off Hanuma Vihari while D. Shivakumar bowled the latter. B. Anirudh and J. Kousik were the only batsmen to score at close to run a ball and hit a few sixes but it was far few to make any meaningful impact with the required rate well beyond eight at this point.

Against a disciplined bowling attack, Tamil Nadu batsmen struggled and could score only 11 boundaries and four sixes, while Andhra managed 11 boundaries within the first power play itself.

Electing to bat, Andhra openers got off to a lucky start thanks to some sloppy effort in the field from TN fielders who dropped K.S. Bharat twice (on 5 and 13) in two overs off pacer K. Vignesh. For the first time, Kaushik Gandhi could manage to get only finger tips for a chance at slips while the second time, keeper N. Jagadeesan spilled an easy chance.

Bharat took the two lives he was presented and slammed TN bowlers all over the park smashing seven boundaries in the first power play to quickly move to 30.

The duo added 87 for the opening wicket stand before Shah trapped Hebbar leg-before and quickly removed skipper Hanuma Vihari.

Spinners Shah and Washington Sundar pulled things back with some tight overs in the middle stages. Once Bharat was dismissed, Ricky Bhui first and then B. Sumanth ensured they did not let TN come back into the game by slamming half-centuries. While Bhui hit some big shots with three sixes, Sumnath played without taking any risks to remain unbeaten on 62 to take Andhra to 276.

The score:

Andhra 276 for six in 50 overs (K.S. Bharat 82, Ashwin Hebbar 38, Ricky Bhui 52, B. Sumanth 62 n.o.) bt Tamil Nadu 247 in 48.5 overs (Kaushik Gandhi 44, N. Jagadeesan 40, B. Aparajith 30, B. Anirudh 38, J. Kousik 56).

Points: TN 0 (4); Andhra 4 (16).