Vijay Hazare Trophy: TN outplays Tripura, secures sixth consecutive win

Abhinav Mukund, B. Aparajith and T. Natarajan star in Tamil Nadu’s 187-run win over Tripura at the K. L. Saini Stadium in Jaipur.

File Photo: Abhinav Mukund (right) and B. Aparajith added 128 runs for the second wicket to secure a strong platform for their side.   -  S. Sudarshan

Tamil Nadu’s coach D. Vasu had a pleasant surprise on Sunday. He was congratulated at the K. L. Saini Ground on his team’s splendid performance against Tripura by John Wright, the former New Zealand captain and India coach.

For Vasu and his boys, their royal run continues in the city of palaces. The 187-run win is their sixth in as many matches in the Vijay Hazare Trophy.

And it was a perfect game for them. They won the toss, their batsmen made full use of a nice strip and then the job was completed with clinical precision by the bowlers, backed up by spirited fielders.

No century

The only disappointment, as Vasu would admit later, was that neither of the well-set batsmen could complete a hundred. Opener Abhinav Mukund (84, 87b, 11x4) and Baba Aparajith (87, 97b, 2x4, 4x6) both batted beautifully and set the innings up nicely for skipper Dinesh Karthik.

The wicketkeeper’s 40 came off just 23 balls. It put the game way beyond the reach of Tripura.

All-rounder Washington Sundar, who was promoted up the order for the sake of the left-right batting combination, also made useful runs before falling to what should be one of the catches of the season, by N. N. Sen Chowdhary, who ran a few yards from the long-on boundary and lunged forward.

M. Vijay, the century-maker from the last match, missed out. The opener departed in the seventh over of the morning, leg-before-wicket to seamer M. B. Mura Singh. In came Aparajith, who had made an unbeaten 86 just a couple of days ago against Jammu & Kashmir.

Fruitful partnership

He carried on from where he had left off, showing plenty of aggression, while his partner Mukund was his usual, organised self. The left-handed opener was looking good enough for a hundred, until he cut medium-pacer Neelambuj Vats uppishly and straight to Sen Chowdhary at point. He had added 128 for the second wicket with Aparajith, who would be run out before long.

Chasing 316 was always going to be an uphill task for Tripura. Four of its batsmen got into 20s and that was the best they could manage against a relentless attack.

'Happy'

Seamers T. Natarajan, Vijay Shankar and K. Vignesh as well as spinners M. Ashwin and R. Sai Kishore all had a wicket at least.

Little wonder that their coach Vasu was beaming when the match was over. “I am happy to win six games in a row,” he said. “But the aim is to win all the nine.”

Brief scores
  • Tamil Nadu 315 for 8 in 50 overs (Abhinav Mukund 84, B. Aparajith 87, Ajoy Sarkar 3 for 51) beat Tripura 128 in 34.3 overs (T. Natarajan 3 for 22) by 187 runs. Points — TN: 4, Tripura: 0.
  • Jammu & Kashmir 189 in 48.3 overs (Paras Sharma 49, Diwesh Gurudev Pathania 4 for 39) lost to Services 190 for 3 in 34.2 overs (Rahul Singh Gahlaut 124 n.o., Rajat Paliwal 49) by seven wickets. Points — Services: 4, J&K: 0.
  • Rajasthan 206 in 47.4 overs (Arjit Gupta 90, Himanshu Sangwan 4 for 44, Ananta Sinha 3 for 51) tied with Railways 206 for 8 in 50 overs (Dinesh Mor 92 n.o., A. R. Lamba 4 for 15). Points — Rajasthan: 2, Railways: 2.