Jaipur, Dec 24: Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy champions Tamil Nadu, continued their stellar show in the domestic circuit as they entered the final of Vijay Hazare Trophy 2021, the domestic One-Day championship, here on Friday (December 24).
In a high-scoring game that saw centuries from both sides, Tamil Nadu edged Saurashtra by two wickets in a last-ball thriller in the semi-final. This is the southern side's seventh final appearance in the tournament.
Eventually, it was Baba Aparajith's brilliant 122 for Tamil Nadu that helped his team come out victorious while Sheldon Jackson's 134 and Chetan Sakariya's fifer went in vain in the nail-biting encounter between two in-form sides.
In their stipulated 50 overs, Saurashtra posted a commanding 310/8. Saurashtra lost their opener Harvik Desai (9) early in the innings. Jackson - who was the backbone of his team's innings - scored 134 off 125 deliveries and stitched three crucial fifty-plus partnerships with Vishvaraj Jadeja (92 runs), Prerak Mankad (81 runs) and Arpit Vasavada (70 runs). Jadeja and Vasavada slammed brilliant fifties as Saurashtra looked in control all through the innings.
Captain Vijay Shankar was the pick of the bowlers for Tamil Nadu as the all-rounder snapped up four of the last five wickets. He finished with figures of 4 for 72 from his quota of 10 overs and even dismissed Jackson and Vasavada.
In response, opener Aparajith scored 122 off 124 deliveries and his innings was laced with 12 boundaries and three sixes. Tamil Nadu too lost their opener N Jagadeesan early as the right-handed batsman was dismissed for a duck by Sakariya. Vijay Shankar (4) too fell cheaply as he became Sakariya's second victim. But a 97-run stand between Baba Indrajith (50) and Aparajith revived the SMAT champions in the run chase.
After Indrajith's dismissal, Dinesh Karthik (31) forged a partnership of 48 runs with the in-form opener but the wicketkeeper-batsman was dismissed by Jaydev Unadkat when the scoreboard read 168.
Later, all-rounder Washington Sundar forged a gritty partnership of 84 runs with Aparajith. When Aparajith was dismissed in the 43rd over, Saurashtra once again looked to make a comeback. But Sundar (71), Shahrukh Khan (17), R Sai Kishore (12*) and R Silambarasan held on to their nerves and took their team home.
TN needed seven runs off the final over and tail-enders Sai Kishore and Silambarasan brought it down to 1 of the last ball off medium-pacer Chirag Jani. Sai Kishore finished off the chase in style with a boundary.
Tamil Nadu will now face Himachal Pradesh in the final on Sunday (December 26).
Brief Scores: Saurashtra 310 for 8 in 50 overs (Sheldon Jackson 134, Arpit Vasavada 57; Vijay Shankar 4/72) lost to Tamil Nadu 314 for 8 in 50 overs (B Aparajith 122, Washington Sundar 70; Chetan Sakariya 5/62) by two wickets.