Karnataka claimed its fourth Vijay Hazare Trophy title with a comfortable victory over traditional rival Tamil Nadu in the final at M. Chinnaswamy Stadium here on Friday. The triumph was all the sweeter as it came in front of a sizeable home crowd.
The host won by 60 runs, via the VJD method, after rain forced play to be called off 23 overs into the chase. The VJD par score when the action stopped was 86 for one; Karnataka was well ahead at 146 for one.
Fine knocks from K.L. Rahul (52 n.o., 72b, 5x4) and Mayank Agarwal (69 n.o., 55b, 7x4, 3x6) ensured that the chase was always under control. Karnataka found another star performer in fast bowler Abhimanyu Mithun (9.5-0-34-5), who took a hat-trick in his five for 34 spell.
Mithun’s burst brought the Tamil Nadu innings to a close at 252. In the 50th over, Mithun dismissed the dangerous Shah Rukh Khan with a low full toss hit to Manish Pandey at long-off. Devdutt Padikkal then held on to a superb running catch at sweeper cover to remove M. Mohammed. Mithun completed his hat-trick when last man Murugan Ashwin sliced a full delivery to cover.
It was a tame end to the visitor’s innings, which yielded just 65 runsin the last 10 overs. Tamil Nadu was going along smoothly when Abhinav Mukund (85, 110b) and Baba Aparajith (66, 84b) were at the crease, the duo putting on 124 runs for the third wicket.
Mukund was strong off the back-foot, cutting and flicking with aplomb. Aparajith was as solid as ever. Debutant left-arm pacer Prateek Jain broke the partnership, getting Mukund to chop a short ball to cover. Aparajith came undone to a poor piece of running, keen on taking a double when his partner Vijay Shankar was not. Shankar (38, 35b) and Dinesh Karthik (11, 18b) looked to finish proceedings in style, but it was not to be.
Rahul and Mayank then took centrestage. Mayank carried on from the terrific form he showed in the South Africa Tests, taking apart the bowlers with ease. He got going with a lofted six over cover off Shankar, and stroked left-arm speedster T. Natarajan for three boundaries in the next over. Tamil Nadu simply could not stop the Mayank show.
Rahul, meanwhile, was composed and played without taking risk. He survived a scare on 33, when the third umpire ruled that Shah Rukh did not take a catch cleanly at point. Replays showed that Shah Rukh just about kept the ball above the ground, but the on-field umpires’ soft-signal not out decision worked against the fielder.
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