Vijay Hazare Trophy: Tamil Nadu's quarterfinal hopes go up in the smoke

Tamil Nadu’s hopes of making it to the quarterfinal stage of the Vijay Hazare Trophy were nipped in the bud following its 77-run loss to Haryana at the IIT Chemplast ground here on Tuesday.

Himanshu Rana plays a shot against Tamil Nadu in Chennai on Tuesday.   -  R. Ragu

Tamil Nadu’s hopes of making it to the quarterfinal stage of the Vijay Hazare Trophy were nipped in the bud following its 77-run loss to Haryana at the IIT Chemplast ground here on Tuesday.

Chasing 311 to stay alive, Tamil Nadu was dealt an early blow when opener Jagadeesan was removed cheaply in the second over.

Murali Vijay (24, 27b, 2x4) and Abhinav Mukund (47, 54b, 1x6, 2x4) calmed the early nerves but Vijay — undone by lack of pace — was caught by Jayant Yadav, who completed a fine catch running across from mid-on.

Vijay Shankar (44, 67b, 4x4) and Mukund then added 59 for the fourth wicket before the latter was caught short of his crease courtesy a direct hit from Himanshu Rana at deep mid-wicket. 

That didn’t deter Shankar, who played a brace of delightful drives off his Haryana counterpart Amit Mishra. The ace leg-spinner, however, had his revenge when he had Shankar caught at long-on to leave TN struggling at 155/7.

M. Mohammed and C.V. Varun hammered some big sixes at the fag end of the innings, but it was all a case of too little too late as TN finished on.

Jayant Yadav returned figures of 2 for 36 while leggie Yuzvendra Chahal went wicketless.

Rana, Tewatia flex muscles

Earlier, Haryana openers, Nitin Saini (40, 70b, 5x4) and Chaitanya Bishnoi (25, 31b, 5x4), began solidly after electing to bat on a benign pitch.

The duo brought up the team 50 in 12.4 overs before Mukund caught Bishnoi short of his crease. He was out for 24.

Saini's innings came to a rather tame end when he shaped up to play a paddle sweep off Washington Sundar but was caught behind.

Sundar had his second wicket of the match when he took a sharp caught-and-bowled to dismiss Jayant Yadav.

Pramod Chandila (32, 25b, 1x6, 4x4) then struck some lusty blows, a mighty heave for six over deep mid-wicket off Sundar stood out. But he was out caught at short mid-wicket off Varun to leave Haryana at 146/4.

Himanshu Rana (89*, 76b, 3x6, 5x4), from thereon,  anchored the innings and along with Rahul Tewatia (91*, 59b, 5x6, 8x4), added an enterprising, unbeaten 151 runs for the sixth wicket.

Rana brought up his fifty with a cracking six over long-on off Varun while Tewatia flexed his muscles at the other end. The southpaw reached his half-century with a reverse sweep for four.

Both batsmen played a flurry of aggressive shots between them as Haryana clobbered 112  in the last 10 overs. Tewatia, however, was the more aggressive of the two,  hammering five maximums during his innings.

For the host team, spinners Sundar (2 for 58) and Varun (2 for 55) were duly punished when the length was too short or too full. Despite having Haryana five down for 159, the TN bowlers simply failed to put brakes on the scoring. The most number of runs to come off one over were 19 in the penultimate over by seamer Sharun Kumar.

"Our attitude and approach cost us a place in the quarters. This tournament,  for every step forward,  we've taken two steps back. I don't think its got anything to do with the depth in the squad. There are teams with fewer big names that have done better than us (in Vijay Hazare). It boils down to doing the basics right, like fielding for instance. You can't teach players (at this level)  how to cut angles while fielding.  I want players with the right attitude,  talent may or may not come good at times but the right attitude will come through."

--- Hrishikesh Kanitkar, Tamil Nadu coach