Vijay Hazare Trophy Final: Bowlers give Tamil Nadu an edge over Bengal

The final on Monday offers an opportunity for Bengal to turn the tables on Tamil Nadu which will be looking to regain the title after seven seasons.

Tamil Nadu pacer Aswin Crist in action against Maharashtra.   -  Biswaranjan Rout

Tamil Nadu will have to deal with an upbeat Bengal batting line-up in the final of the Vijay Hazare Trophy at the Ferozehshah Kotla ground here on Monday.

In the quarterfinal against Maharashtra, Bengal chased down 300+ and in the semifinal, against Jharkhand, set a target of a bit more. So far, the Bengal batsmen appeared to have peaked for the title-match.

On the other hand, Tamil Nadu’s bowlers have consistently done their job and made it easier for the batsmen. In eight outings this season, the TN bowlers have taken 77 wickets, with Kerala being the only team to escape being bowled out.

Barring Maharashtra and Delhi, all teams have scored sub-250 totals against this attack, headed by pace bowler Aswin Crist who is presently the highest wicket-taker in this year’s competition with 18 scalps. Left-arm spinner Rahil Shah, too, has done his job with 14 wickets.

From Bengal’s perspective, its bowlers have not been able to match the efforts of the batsmen. As a result, it should not come as a surprise if the in-form brigade of Dinesh Karthik (495 runs), Kaushik Gandhi (282), Baba Aparajith (277), V. Ganga Sridhar Raju (274) and Vijay Shankar (196) have the final say.

Both teams will not bother too much about the losing the toss. On the way to the title-match, the finalists have proved their worth in overcoming various challenges.

For Bengal, opener Abhimanyu Easwaran (471 runs) has shown the way. With every top and middle-order batsmen scoring consistently – Manoj Tiwary (346), Sreevats Goswami (322), Sudip Chatterjee (281) and Anustup Majumdar (155) – batting is least of Bengal’s worries.

It could well turn out to be a close contest should the Bengal batsmen come good one more time. On the contrary, another good day for the Tamil Nadu bowlers and the title could come their way for the fifth time. Bengal, champion in 2011-12 season when the Capital hosted the final, have finished runner-up four times, including twice to Tamil Nadu.

So, Monday offers an opportunity for Bengal to turn the tables on Tamil Nadu which will be looking to regain the title after seven seasons.

The teams:

Bengal: Manoj Tiwary (captain), Shreevats Goswami, Abhimanyu Easwaran, Sudip Chatterjee, Agniv Pan, Anustup Majumdar, Debabrata Das, Aamir Gani, Kanishk Seth, Ashok Dinda, Pragyan Ojha, Sayan Ghosh, Mukesh Kumar, Abhishek Raman and Pankaj Shaw.

Tamil Nadu: Dinesh Karthik (captain), Kaushik Gandhi, V. Ganga Sridhar Raju, Baba Aparajith, Vijay Shankar, Washington Sundar, M. Mohammad, Aswin Crist, Rahil Shah, R. Sai Kishore, B. Indrajith, N. Jagadeesan, R. Rohit, Anthony Dhas.