Jaipur: Skipper Dinesh Karthik starred with a superb knock of 97 (62 balls, 8 fours, 4 sixes) as Tamil Nadu beat Bengal by 74 runs to notch up its fourth straight win in the Group 'C' of the Vijay Hazare Trophy cricket tournament on Tuesday.
Sent in to bat, Tamil Nadu was in a spot of bother at 123 for 5 in the 37th over before recovering to finish with 286 for 7 in 50 overs, thanks to a splendid century sixth-wicket partnership between Karthik and Shahrukh Khan (69 not out, 45 balls, 4 fours, 5 sixes).
In reply, Bengal was bowled out for 212 in 45.3 overs, thanks to a disciplined effort by the TN bowlers.
The Tamil Nadu medium-pacers K Vignesh (2 for 26) and T Natarajan (2 for 33) reduced Bengal to 21 for 5 before the left-handed Shahbaz (107, 131 balls, 7 fours, 6 sixes) fought back single-handedly.
He smashed the ball around but his effort was in vain as Vignesh, Natarajan and Aparajith stuck to their task.
Earlier, the Tamil Nadu skipper led the revival from 123 for 5 in the company of Shahrukh Khan, who smashed four boundaries and five sixes in his quick-fire 69 off 45 balls.
The two added 153 runs 12 overs, smashing the Bengal bowlers all over the park.
The Bengal bowlers had struck at regular intervals, starting with the dismissal of N Jagadeesan (8) in the 5th over.
Only B Aparajith (34) made a significant contribution among the top-order batsmen even as Dinda and the other bowlers kept chipping away.
However, the game was a reality check for young paceman Ishan Porel, who took six wickets in the game against Jammu & Kashmir on Monday, as he went wicketless in 10 overs giving away 55 runs.
In other matches, Gujarat posted an easy seven-wicket win over Rajasthan and Services put it across Railways rather comfortably.
Tamil Nadu is top of the points table with 16 from 4 games, followed by Gujarat (14).
Chandigarh beat Sikkim
Left-arm spinner Gurinder Singh claimed three wickets as Chandigarh defeated Sikkim by four wickets in a rain-curtailed Plate Group match .
Gurinder returned with figures of 4-0-19-3 as Sikkim were restricted to a paltry 111 for four after electing to bat in the rain-hit match that was reduced to 21-overs-a-side affair at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium.
Yashpal Singh (39 not out from 32 balls; 4x4s, 1x6) was the top-scorer for Sikkim, while Iqbal Abdulla (20 from 16 balls) and Palzor Tamang (13 not out from 14 balls) also made some contributions.
But it was not enough to propel their run-rate with the left-arm spin duo of Gurinder and Bipul Sharma (4-1-13-0) making a significant impact in the middle overs.
In reply, Chandigarh were cruising at 65 for no loss in 61 balls before losing quick wickets to be reduced to 106 for six in the penultimate over.
Needing six runs from the last over, Gurinder hit a boundary to seal four points and a first win for Chandigarh.
The other two plate group matches between Nagaland versus Meghalaya and Uttarkhand versus Manipur were abandoned with each team securing two points each.
Brief scores: Rajasthan 102 all out in 40.1 overs (M N Singh 35, Rush Kalaria 3/15 , A Nagwaswalla 3/30) lost to Gujarat 103 for 3 in 25.3 overs (Dhruv Raval 34 not out, Priyank Panchal 32).
Gujarat: 4 points, Rajasthan: 0.
Tamil Nadu 286 for 7 in 50 overs (Dinesh Karthik 97, Shahrukh Khan 69 not out, Vijay Shankar 41, Ashoke Dinda 2/60) beat Bengal 212 all out in 45.3 overs (Shahbaz Ahmed 107, K Vignesh 2/26).
TN: 4 points, Bengal: 0.
Railways 251 for 6 in 50 overs (Arindam Ghosh 79, Pratham Singh 44, Karn Sharma 44, Vikrant Singh 41, Varun Choudhary 3/58) lost to Services 252 for 5 in 48.5 overs (Nakul Varma 108, Rajat Paliwal 56, Vikrant Singh 2/47).
Services: 4 points, Railways: 0.
At Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium: Sikkim 111/4 in 21 overs (Gurinder Singh 3/19) vs Chandigarh 115/6 in 20.4 overs. Chandigarh won by five wickets. Points: Chandigarh: 4, Sikkim: 2.
At Abhimanyu Cricket Academy: Nagaland vs Meghalaya. Match Abandoned. Points: Nagaland: 2, Meghalaya: 2.
At Tanush Academy Ground: Uttarakhand vs Manipur. Match Abandoned. Points: Uttarakhand 2, Manipur 2.
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