The highlight of the day in the Vijay Hazare Trophy on Saturday was the brilliant double century scored by Kerala batsman Sanju Samson against Goa, who staked a claim for a spot in the Indian T20 squad. Here is how the action transpired.
Elite Group A:
In the ELite Group A match played between Kerala and Goa at Alur, Sanju Samson smashed an unbeaten 212 that helped his team to a massive 104-run victory at Alur. Batting first, Samson stitched a 338-run partnership with Sachin Baby – who scored 127 off 135 balls. This is a record partnership for third wicket in List A history, bettering the 309 between Tim Curtis and Tom Moody in 1994.
Batting first, Kerala lost Robin Uthappa early when he was declared out for obstructing the field. Vishnu Vinod was also out with the score at 31, and Kerala was in a spot of bother. It was then that the duo of Baby and Samson started their mammoth partnership, running hard between the wickets and dispatching any loose balls they found to the fence.
Heramb Parab of Goa went for over 8 runs an over in his spell, and bore the brunt of the hitting by Baby and Samson. Samson hit 21 fours and 10 sixes in his innings of 212* off just 129 balls at a strike rate of 165. Baby too hit seven fours and four sixes in his knock of 127 off 135 balls, playing the perfect sheet anchor to Samson.
In reply, Goa started well but lost wickets midway to slow their chase down. Eventually, rain stopped play and with the score at 153/3 in 31 overs, Kerala were declared winners by 104 runs.
In the other two Group A matches, Karnataka cruised to a an 8 wicket win over Saurashtra thanks to Devdutt Padikkal’s unbeaten 103 off 104 balls, while Jharkhand won by three wickets against Andhra.
Elite Group C:
Abhinav Mukund (147, 139 balls, 17 fours, 2 sixes) and Vijay Shankar (90, 93 balls, 7 fours, 2 sixes) pulverised the Madhya Pradesh attack to help Tamil Nadu pile up 360 for 4 on the way to a massive 211-run win in their Vijay Hazare trophy group C match.
It was the eighth successive win for the Dinesh Karthik-led side, which has been in tremendous form.
Gujarat lies in second spot, having won all its seven games.
Dinesh Karthik too joined in the fun as he pulverised the hapless MP attack for a 28-ball 65 (8 fours, 3 sixes) in a thoroughly dominant performance by Tamil Nadu.
Madhya Pradesh was sent on a leather hunt after its captain Naman Ojha invited Tamil Nadu to bat after winning the toss.
The stylish Mukund, who has been in superb form right through the tournament and Murali Vijay (24, 20 balls, 4 fours) started off in right earnest before the latter was bowled by Ishwar Pandey.
Baba Aparajith, who has been in excellent touch for Tamil Nadu, fell for just six, run out by Anand Singh Bais.
That brought Mukund and in-form Vijay Shankar, who simply toyed with the MP attack that had no answer to the duo’s batting.
In a splendid 191-run partnership the two made sure Tamil Nadu had a solid foundation, which Karthik built on.
Mukund, apart from some lovely drives, lofted two big sixes, while Shankar was his usual flamboyant self.
Once Shankar and Mukund, whose 100 came off 108 balls, departed, it was Karthik’s turn to sizzle.
Karthik, who has displayed his abilities at the highest level, tore into the MP attack and the bowlers were at their wits’ end as he blasted boundaries and three sixes to all parts of the ground.
Chasing 361 for a win, Madhya Pradesh kept losing wickets at regular intervals and was never in the hunt, collapsing to 149 all out in the 29th over from 100 for 3.
Leggie M Ashwin took 3 wickets for 14 runs while Aparajith hastened the end, taking two wickets in the four balls he bowled.
Tamil Nadu takes on Gujarat in its final league fixture on October 16.
Tamil Nadu 360 for 4 in 50 overs (Abhinav Mukund 147, Vijay Shankar 90, Dinesh Karthik 65 not out) beat Madhya Pradesh 149 all out in 28.4 overs (Anand Singh Bais 34, M Ashwin 3/14, Aparajith 2/0, Abhishek Tanwar 2/39, R Sai Kishore 2/42).
TN: 4 points, MP: 0.
Rajasthan 268 for 5 in 50 overs (Deepak Chahar 63 not out, R K Bishnoi 61 not, YB Kothari 59, Cheta Bist 49, Mohd Sarfaraz Ashraf 3/34) beat Bihar 109 all out in 36.3 overs (Rahmat Ullah 38, Chiranjivi Kumar 32, Rahul Chahar 4/45).
Rajasthan: 4 points, Bihar: 0.
Tripura 235 for 9 in 50 overs (Udiyan Bose 85 (120 balls, 6 fours, 2 sixes), Milind Kumar 64, M B Murasingh 31, Shivendra Singh 3/47) lost to Railways 201 for 7 in 43.3 overs (Karn Sharma 85 not out (71 balls, 3 fours, 6 sixes), Arindam Ghosh 60, AS Sarkar 2/35, Neelambuj Vats 2/38).
Railways: 4 points, Tripura: 0.
(With PTI inputs)