Vijay Hazare Trophy: Andhra qualifies for quarters on Net Run Rate

On an exciting final day of the league stage, Andhra pipped Tamil Nadu and Jharkhand on Net Run Rate to top the Elite Group B and qualify for the quarterfinals of the Vijay Hazare Trophy on Sunday.

Ricky Bhui (in picture) and Ashwin Hebbar were instrumental in Andhra reaching the quarters.   -  C. V. Subrahmanyam

On an exciting final day of the league stage, Andhra pipped Tamil Nadu and Jharkhand on Net Run Rate to top the Elite Group B and qualify for the quarterfinals of the Vijay Hazare Trophy on Sunday.

Even as Tamil Nadu chased down Vidarbha’s total of 150 in 11.2 overs to post a five-wicket win, Andhra produced an even more audacious effort as it chased Jharkhand’s 139 in just 9.5 overs to finish the league stage with 12 points and an NRR of +0.732. Tamil Nadu had a Net Run Rate of +0.652.

Asked to bat first, Vidarbha was skittled for 151 thanks to three-wicket hauls from off-spinner B. Aparajith (3/10) and medium pacers J. Kousik (3/22) and M. Mohammed (3/33).

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In reply, N. Jagadeesan led the way with an 18-ball 48 (4x4, 4x6) before Mohammed chipped in with an unbeaten 37 off 14 balls (3x4, 3x6) to help TN chase down the target in quick time.

Tamil Nadu coach D. Vasu said, “We produced a clinical effort today, but it wasn’t enough in the end. A case of so near yet so far. Overall, it was a good season for us, and every player delivered when given an opportunity. We just need to build on this for our big goal, which is winning the Ranji Trophy.”

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Andhra romps home

Elsewhere, Andhra medium-pacer M. Harishankar Reddy justified his team’s decision to field first by scalping four-wickets (4/39) and bowling out Jharkhand for just 139.

Openers Ashwin Hebbar (44, 18b, 4x4, 4x6) and Ricky Bhui (57 n.o.,5x4, 5x6) went on a rampage, adding 82 in just 5.5 overs. Bhui ensured he stayed unbeaten and shocked Jharkhand, which was leading the table heading into this match with a Net Run Rate of +1.399.