Vijay Hazare Trophy: Kaushik ton guides TN to victory

The third successive victory was in keeping with Tamil Nadu’s excellent showing in this tournament with a collective contribution in every department making it a team to watch out for.

Tamil Nadu’s Kaushik Gandhi celebrates his century in the Vijaya Hazare trophy match against the Himachal in Cuttack on Tuesday.   -  Biswaranjan Rout

 

Kaushik Gandhi’s century and a five-wicket strike by medium-fast Aswin Crist fashioned Tamil Nadu’s eight-wicket win over Himachal Pradesh at the Barabati Stadium in Cuttack on Tuesday.

The third successive victory was in keeping with Tamil Nadu’s excellent showing in this tournament with a collective contribution in every department making it a team to watch out for.

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Asked to bat, Himachal suffered early losses when openers Ankush Bains (7) and Prashant Chopra (13), with hundreds in back to back matches, fell within 27 runs and the team never recovered from the blows.

On a two-paced pitch, Crist was the star bowler as he aimed to pick wickets than look to restrict. “I concentrated on hitting the deck hard. The pitch was slightly slow and it was important to bowl on the stumps. It was more of a mindset than technique. I just stayed calm and relaxed. I was well aware of the nature of the pitch and the batsmen later understood the situation well,’ said Crist.

Gandhi lost partner G. S. Raju (5) cheaply but did not digress from his course. “I was told to stay at the wicket,” he said. His 130-ball essay, with 12 fours and two sixes, was built around his excellent temperament as he took charge of playing the dominant role.

B. Aparajith and Gandhi added 107 runs for the second wicket to place Tamil Nadu in a strong position. Aparajith’s 62 off 65 balls (five fours and a six) was just the impetus that Tamil Nadu needed before the seasoned Karthik arrived in the middle to guide the chase.

“Batsmen actually played the supporting role to the bowlers,” said Gandhi. “Our bowling has been the highlight of the tournament thus far. Right through the season they have done an excellent job.”

Reflecting on his century, Gandhi noted, “This is only my third one-day match and I was just looking to bat out the overs. I don’t have much experience of this format and I knew I couldn’t approach it like a four-day match. I thought they were 40-run short because this was a two-paced pitch. My intent basically was to score runs without taking risks. Today was my day.”

Gandhi and Karthik ( 45 off 41 balls with six fours) added 86 runs for the unfinished third wicket as Tamil Nadu coasted home in style.