Hazare Trophy | It’s TN firepower vs Saurashtra bowling attack

Both teams high on confidence going into semifinal clash

In what promises to be an intriguing contest, Tamil Nadu and Saurashtra — two of the stronger teams among the last four — will face off in the semifinals of the Vijay Hazare Trophy here on Friday.

Only unbeaten side

Saurashtra is the only unbeaten side so far, having won all its five group matches easily and comprehensively defeating Vidarbha in the quarterfinals on Wednesday.

Led by Jaydev Unadkat, the team has dismissed the opposition cheaply and chased down modest targets comfortably in five of the six matches.

Friday’s clash will test Saurashtra’s bowling against the batting firepower of TN’s Dinesh Karthik, M. Shahrukh Khan, Washington Sundar and N. Jagadeesan.

In Unadkat and fellow left-arm seamer Chetan Sakariya, Saurashtra has solid new-ball bowlers backed up by medium-pacer Chirag Jani. Left-arm spinner Dharmendrasinh Jadeja and leg-spinner Yuvraj Chudasama too have left their mark and are second and third behind Jani in the wickets tally for the side.

The batting department, though, has been dependent on all-rounder Prerak Mankad and opener Harvik Desai, who have scored centuries and would want the likes of Sheldon Jackson and Arpit Vasavada to step up.

Unadkat told The Hindu, “we are relaxed and confident. Our bowling has been our strength and we know they are a strong batting unit. We feel we can pose a strong threat, but batting is an area we feel we can improve.”

Tamil Nadu in contrast has had more success putting runs on the board and getting its spinners to scuttle the chase. Washington leads the TN bowlers with 15 wickets and left-arm spinners M. Siddharth and R. Sai Kishore have been equally effective.

Though teams prefer to bowl first to make use of the early morning cool conditions, TN would feel it has the batters to tackle the tough phase as it did against Karnataka.

Ready, either way

TN coach M. Venkatramana said, “our batters are good enough to tackle their strong bowling unit. Also, if we bowl first, we hope to put their batting unit under pressure.”

Semifinal fixtures: Tamil Nadu vs Saurashtra; Himachal vs Services.

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