Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy: Aparajith plays Tamil Nadu semi-finals | Cricket News

CHENNAI: Baba Aparajith had very little to do with willow – managing just 8 points in the one round he hit – during the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 championship phase. However, the 26-year-old came to the party with an unbeaten 52-shot that helped Tamil Nadu beat Himachal Pradesh by five wickets in the quarter-finals at Motera Stadium in Ahmedabad on Tuesday.
Aparajith’s sixth unfinished wicket stand of 75 of 32 deliveries with Shahrukh Khan (40 no, 5×4, 2×6) helped TN chase 136 with 13 balls in reserve. The other crucial contribution for TN came from mid-pace Sonu Yadav (3 for 14) in the first half of the clash.
A modest goal set by Himachal turned out to be a big test for TN. Himachal’s middle stimulant Vaibhav Arora (3-30) struck three times in his first two overs to let TN struggle 25 for 3. He cleared form openers N Jagadeesan (7) and C Hari Nishaanth ( 17) before reporting Arun Karthick (0) as TN started ordinary. Aparajith, who arrived at No.3, started with a limit towards covers in the fifth ball he faced. He added 35 for the fourth wicket in 40 deliveries with Sonu (16, 2×4) to start the chase. With the wicket helping the stimulators early in the round, Aparajith opted not to try anything out of the ordinary. He preferred to perform the singles and both to keep the scoreboard running. Aparajith had a long fence life at 24 and it was the only loose shot he played on his 45-ball shot.
TN’s pursuit gained momentum once Shahrukh got to the crease. In the 15th overlooked by Arora, Aparajith and Shahrukh opened up as 18 points were hit. Their 32-ball partnership helped TN advance to the semi-finals.
The first half of the evening belonged to Rishi Dhawan (35 no) and Sonu Yadav. Skipper Himachal, who has been in good shape throughout the tournament, was quick to settle in. Arrived at the fold when his team had 68 points for 3 in the 12th, Dhawan began by adding 31 points for the fourth wicket with Ravi Thakur (16) in 20 balls. Despite losing partners at the other end, Dhawan’s innings allowed Himachal to score 63 of the last 7 overs. For TN, Sonu was the standout bowler.
From the moment he got the ball in the second, Sonu was on the money. He varied his pace and played a tidy line. His first two overs in Powerplay read an impressive 2-1-6-1. If that wasn’t enough, Sonu also stood out in the dead. None of the Himachal batsmen read it and Sonu ended the game with numbers 3 for 14. Apart from Sonu, the other notable contributor for TN with the ball was Sandeep Warrier (2 for 32).
Brief scores: Himachal Pradesh 135-9 in 20 overs (Rishi Dhawan 35 no; Sonu Yadav 3-14, Sandeep Warrier 2-32). Tamil Nadu 141-5 in 17.5 overs (B Aparajith 52 no, Shahrukh Khan 40 no; Vaibhav Arora 3-30). TN won by 5 wickets.

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