Left-arm spinner Axar Patel wreaked havoc recording a career-best List A figures of 6/43 as Gujarat beat Tamil Nadu by 31 runs to set up title date with Gautam Gambhir-led Delhi in the final of the Vijay Hazare Trophy cricket tournament.
Batting first, Gujarat scored a decent 248/8 with useful contributions from middle-order batsmen Chirag Gandhi (71) and Manprit Juneja (74). Tamil Nadu skipper Ravichandran Ashwin was the most successful bowler with 3/51 in 10 overs.
In reply, Tamil Nadu were all out for 217 in 47.3 overs as Axar's figures read 10-1-43-6.
India's limited overs specialist ran through the Tamil Nadu top-order despite India discard Abhinav Mukund carrying his bat through the innings with an unbeaten knock of 104.
Mukund and fellow discard Dinesh Karthik (41) had added 84 runs in only 16.1 overs before Gujarat skipper Parthiv Patel introduced Axar as the sixth bowler into the attack.
From 84/0, Tamil Nadu slumped to 99/4 as the left-arm spinner struck four times in his first three overs.
Karthik, along with Baba twins Aparajith (7) and Indrajith (1) were dismissed quickly. India's Test specialist Murali Vijay (0) also departed without opening his account.
Three of the four batsmen were stumped as they tried to play attacking strokes.
Tamil Nadu never recovered from the setback even though left-hander Mukund carried the fight till the end playing 142 balls and hitting six fours.
There was a glimmer of hope when Mukund along with skipper Ashwin (22) added 51 runs for the sixth wicket as Tamil Nadu reached 175/5 at one stage. But once Ashwin became Axar's fifth victim, Tamil Nadu's run-chase ran out of steam.
Mukund virtually had no support at the other end as Jasprit Bumrah finished the game with couple of fuller deliveries to polish off the tail.
Brief Scores: Gujarat 248/8 in 50 overs (Manprit Juneja 74, Chirag Gandhi 71, Ravi Ashwin 3/51)
Tamil Nadu 217 in 47.3 overs (A Mukund 104 no, Dinesh Karthik 41, Axar Patel 6/43). Gujarat won by 31 runs.
Delhi cruised into the final of Vijay Hazare cricket tournament as they rode on Unmukt Chand's unbeaten 80 to register a six-wicket victory over Himachal Pradesh in the first semi-final here today.
After Delhi captain Gautam Gambhir chose to field, his bowlers restricted Himachal to 200 for nine in 50 overs at the M Chinnaswamy stadium.
Leading the side, Bipul Sharma top-scored for Himachal with an aggressive 45-ball 51, which was studded with four boundaries and three sixes, including a huge one that landed on one of the stands.
Sharma was ably supported by Mayank Dagar, who put on 57-run partnership for eighth wicket, after Himachal were precariously placed at 131 for seven.
Chasing a modest total of 201, Delhi were helped by Chand's 86-ball knock, which was decorated with seven boundaries and two sixes.
India opener Shikhar Dhawan was dismissed for 39 by Bipul Sharma, who had the southpaw foxed by his orthodox left-arm spin. Dhawan took 53 balls to score those runs and found the fence on five occasions.
Gautam Gambhir, Rishabh Pant and Milind made 16, 18 and 10, respectively, before Chand and Nitish Rana (19 not out) guided Delhi past Himachal total with 8.5 overs to spare.
No Himachal bowler impressed as they could only get four wickets with Ronit More, Nikhil Gangta and Bipul Sharma bagging one each.
Chand was declared Man of the Match.
Earlier, sent into bat Himachal began their innings on a poor note, losing two wickets when the score was just 32 runs in 10.3 overs.
Opener A K Bains was unfortunately run out for six and then Robin Bist, the one-drop batsman, made six before being caught by Rishabh Pant off Navdeep Amarjeet Saini's bowling.
P S Chopra (33), in the company of Paras Dogra, put on 45-run partnership for the third wicket.
Rishi Dhawan also soon departed, having made nine in 21 balls. The Himachal all-rounder was cleaned up by Delhi all-rounder Pawan Negi, which left his team in the lurch, struggling at 98 for four in 30.1 overs.
After the departure of Chopra, Dogra also did not last long and walked back into the pavilion after Chand latched on to the catch off Negi's delivery. Nikhil Gangta followed suit after scoring 13 runs off 22 balls.
Next to follow was Sumeet Verma, who was stumped by Rishabh Pant off Rana for two. Struggling at 131 for seven, Bipul played a captain's knock and stitched a 57-run partnership with Mayank J Dagar for the eighth wicket.
The partnership was broken by Subodh Bhati after Dagar gave a catch to Negi after scoring 21 in 33 balls.
Sharma was the last man out after Chand took a catch off Ishant Sharma. Bhati, Negi and Rana scalped two wickets each, while Saini and Ishan bagged one wicket each.
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The infected employee was found to be positive for coronavirus, following a PCR test carried out on Saturday.
An official of one of the teams said the staff members were outside the bio-bubble and not in contact with the players.