Baba Aparajith and Shahrukh Khan played unbeaten knocks of 52 and 40 respectively as Tamil Nadu defeated Himachal Pradesh by five wickets in the second quarterfinal of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy on Tuesday, at the Motera Stadium. While Himachal Pradesh has been knocked out, Tamil Nadu progressed to the semi-finals. Tamil Nadu will now face the winner of the Bihar-Rajasthan match in the first semi-final of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy on Friday. Earlier in the day, Karnataka lost to Punjab to bow out of the tournament.
Chasing 136, Tamil Nadu lost their first three wickets of N Jagadeeshan (7), Hari Nishanth (17), and Arun Karthik (0) quite early as all three were clean bowled by Vaibhav Arora and this reduced Dinesh Karthik’s side to 25/3 in the fourth over.
Sonu Yadav and Aparajith then got together at the crease and the duo retrieved the innings for Tamil Nadu as they put on a stand of 35 runs, but as soon as the innings started to gain some stability, Himachal Pradesh got the breakthrough of Yadav (16), with Tamil Nadu still 76 runs away from the target.
Skipper Dinesh Karthik had a lot riding on his shoulders but to his side’s disappointment, he was able to score just two runs and Tamil Nadu was left staring down the barrel at 66/5 in the 13th over. After Karthik’s dismissal, Baba Aparajith took matters into his own hand and he changed the tempo of his innings to put pressure on Himachal Pradesh bowlers.
Aparajith then found support in Shahrukh Khan and both batters took Tamil Nadu over the line by five wickets with 13 balls to spare. The duo formed an unbeaten stand of 75 runs off just 32 balls to Tamil Nadu over the finishing line.
Earlier, a three-wicket haul by Sonu Yadav helped Tamil Nadu restrict Himachal Pradesh to 135/9 in the allotted twenty overs.
Asked to bat first, Himachal Pradesh got off to a bad start as the side lost its opener Prashant Chopra (6) in the fourth over of the innings. Baba Aparajith then dismissed Rana (28) in the seventh over, reducing Himachal Pradesh to 39/2.
Nitin Sharma and RI Thakur then got together at the crease and the duo stitched a brief 29-run stand, but as soon as Himachal Pradesh started gaining an upper hand, Sandeep Warrier dismissed Nitin (26), reducing the side to 68/3 in the 12th over.
Tamil Nadu bowlers were able to maintain a check on the run-flow, and for Himachal Pradesh, skipper Rishi Dhawan played an unbeaten knock of 35 runs and in the end, the side posted a total of more than the 130-run mark in the allotted twenty overs.
Brief 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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