Vijay Hazare Trophy semifinal: Tamil Nadu beats Saurashtra in last-ball thriller

Aparajith's fluent 122 and Washington's classy 70 helped TN chase down the target of 311 in the semifinal on Friday.

TN batsman Baba Aparajith scored 122 in the semfinal against Saurashtra in Jaipur on Friday.   -  FILE PHOTO/PTI

In a humdinger of a semifinal, Tamil Nadu prevailed over Saurashtra off the last ball of the innings while chasing a mammoth total of 311 to reach the final of the Vijay Hazare Trophy here on Friday. 

The match saw high-quality individual performances from both sides throughout the day. B. Aparajith’s brilliant 122 (124b, 12x4, 3x6) and Washington Sundar’s masterful 70 (61b, 8x4) under pressure ensured TN a clear passage to have a chance to go for a record sixth title on Sunday.

With seven required in the last over, R. Sai Kishore and R. Silambarasan traded singles in the first five balls that included an above-the-head bouncer, declared a wide ball by the leg-umpire. 

Sai Kishore creamed one through point to the boundary in the last ball to guide TN to a two-wicket victory.

Earlier, the experienced Sheldon Jackson came to the party for Saurashtra with a brilliant 134 (125b, 11x4, 4x6) to help his side cross the 300-run mark. He had support from opener Vishvarajsinh Jadeja (52) and the experienced Arpit Vasavada, who smashed a quickfire 57 (40b, 4x4, 2x6).

TN got off to a disastrous start. It lost opener N. Jagadeesan and skipper Vijay Shankar to Chetan Sakariya (5/62). 

Twins Aparajith and Indrajith combined for a brilliant partnership of 97 for the third wicket. 

Aparajith was the aggressor with delectable punches and drives through the off-side against the pacers. He scored a flurry of boundaries at the start of his innings before Indrajith joined the party with a crucial 50.

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The experienced Dinesh Karthik chipped in with a quick 31.

With 143 needed off just about 20 overs, Washington played an effortless knock and added 76 with Aparajith for the fifth wicket. Once Aparajith fell, Washington took charge of the innings. It had more finesse than power.

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With 25 needed off the last three, he picked two boundaries behind point off Jaydev Unadkat to bring the equation to just 11 off 12. But Sakariya brought Saurashtra back into the game with the wicket of Washington after having dismissed Shahrukh Khan with a slower one.  

In the end, TN just about managed to keep it together and will meet Himachal Pradesh in the final on Sunday. 

Brief scores: Saurashtra 310/8 in 50 overs (Sheldon Jackson 134, Arpit Vasavada 57, Vishvarajsinh Jadeja 52, Vijay Shankar 4/72) lost to Tamil Nadu 311/8 in 50 overs (B. Aparajith 122, Washington Sundar 70, B. Indrajith 50, Chetan Sakariya 5/62).

Final: December 26: Tamil Nadu vs Himachal Pradesh.

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