Baba Aparajith and Shahrukh Khan played unbeaten strokes of 52 and 40 respectively when Tamil Nadu defeated Himachal Pradesh by five wickets in the second quarter final of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy on Tuesday, at Motera Stadium. While Himachal Pradesh has been eliminated, Tamil Nadu advanced to the semi-finals. Tamil Nadu will now face the winner of the Bihar-Rajasthan competition in the first semifinal of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy on Friday. Earlier in the day, Karnataka lost to Punjab to bow out of the tournament.
In the chase of 136, Tamil Nadu lost their first three wickets to N Jagadeeshan (7), Hari Nishanth (17) and Arun Karthik (0) quite early as all three were clean bowled by Vaibhav Arora and this diminished the side of Dinesh Karthik until 3/25 in the fourth over.
Sonu Yadav and Aparajith then came together at the crease and the duo got the innings back for Tamil Nadu when they had a score of 35 runs, but once the innings started to get some stability, Himachal Pradesh got the break from Yadav (16), with Tamil Nadu still 76 running away from the goal.
Skipper Dinesh Karthik had a lot on his shoulders, but to his disappointment he was only able to score two runs and Tamil Nadu kept staring over the barrel to 66/5 in the 13th. After Karthik’s dismissal, Baba Aparajith took matters into his own hands and changed the pace of his innings to put pressure on Himachal Pradesh’s bowlers.
Aparajith then found support in Shahrukh Khan and both batters took over Tamil Nadu over the line with five wickets with 13 balls. The duo formed an unbeaten score of 75 runs from just 32 balls to Tamil Nadu across the finish line.
Previously, a three-wicket haul by Sonu Yadav Tamil Nadu helped limit Himachal Pradesh to 135/9 in the allotted twenty overs.
Asked to hit first, Himachal Pradesh got off to a bad start when the team lost its opener Prashant Chopra (6) in the fourth over of the innings. Baba Aparajith then sent Rana (28) away in the seventh, reducing Himachal Pradesh to 39/2.
Nitin Sharma and RI Thakur then joined at the crease and the duo sewed a short 29-run draw, but as soon as Himachal Pradesh started to gain the upper hand, Sandeep Warrier turned down Nitin (26), reducing the side to 68/3 in the 12th over.
Tamil Nadu bowlers were able to control the run-flow, and for Himachal Pradesh, skipper Rishi Dhawan played an undefeated knockout of 35 runs, eventually placing a total of more than the 130-run mark allocated in the twenty overs .
Short scores: Himachal Pradesh 135/9 (Rishi Dhawan 35 *, Nitin Sharma 26, Sonu Yadav 3-14); Tamil Nadu 141/5 (Baba Aparajith 52 *, Shahrukh Khan 40 *, Vaibhav Arora 3-30).
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