Vijay Hazare Trophy: Twin tons allow TN to finish high against Gujarat

For Gujarat, Bhargav Merai responded with a brilliant 101 off just 97 balls with 11 fours and a six but the TN bowlers, helped by a commanding total of 311, were just too good on the day.

Kaushik Gandhi raced from 93 to his century with two boundaries.   -  THE HINDU

Kaushik Gandhi (127, 120b, 11x4, 1x6) and skipper Vijay Shankar (100, 102b, 8x4, 2x6) slammed tons and put together a mammoth 219-run partnership for the third wicket to help Tamil Nadu starts its title defense campaign with a comfortable 76-run win over Gujarat in the Group C Vijay Hazare trophy match here.

For Gujarat, Bhargav Merai responded with a brilliant 101 off just 97 balls with 11 fours and a six but the TN bowlers, helped by a commanding total of 311, were just too good on the day.

Put into bat on a slightly green wicket, TN lost India Test opener M. Vijay early caught behind and was reduced to 47 for two by the 12 over before Kaushik and Vijay came together.

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A feature of the partnership between Kaushik and Vijay was the running between the wickets with the duo running hard and putting pressure on the Gujarat fielders, who lacked intent and failed to attack the ball. In the first 50 runs of their partnership there was not a single boundary off the bat with just a leg bye boundary.

Kaushik was given a reprieve on 15 when he miscued a pull and was dropped by Ishwar Choudhary off the bowling off Chintan Gaja.

The right-hander made full use of the opportunity and made the visitors pay for the miss with some stylish shots. He raced from 93 to his century with two boundaries, both times lofting over the extra cover region off left-arm spinner Hardik Patel.

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Vijay Shankar at the other end got his first boundary when he was on 21 but after that slowly stepped on the accelerator and made merry with a flawless knock.

The skipper played two brilliant shots - first a back foot punch off Choudhary to get to his fifty and then hit a rising delivery over long off for a six standing tall.

In reply, Aswin Crist struck in the first over removing Samit Gohil before Priyank Panchal and Dhruv Raval had a 57-run stand for the second wicket and scored at a brisk rate. Once spinners R. Ashwin and Washington Sundar started the runs dried and the pressure resulted in mix up accounting for Raval’s run out.

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Soon, Gujarat lost five wickets in the space of 63 runs with Sundar picking two and Ashwin and Yo Mahesh taking one each to be reduced to 123 for six.

Merai played a valiant knock and strung some decent partnerships with the help from the lower order, however the chase was a step too high.

Brief scores

Tamil Nadu 311 for eight in 50 overs (M. Kaushik Gandhi 127, Vijay Shankar 100, Chintan Gaja three for 61, Rohit Dahiya two for 46) bt Gujarat 235 in 45.1 overs (Priyank Panchal 42, Bhargav Merai 101, A. Aswin Crist three for 44, R. Ashwin two for 38, M.S. Washington Sundar two for 35) by 76 runs.

Points: Tamil Nadu 4 ; Gujarat 0.