The surge in the run-rate arrived rather late in the day. Tamil Nadu was left with too much to accomplish in the end. It was mission impossible even against a lightweight.
Riding on a century of some bright strokeplay from the in-form M. Vijay, Tamil Nadu crushed Meghalaya by 92 runs in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Twenty20 tournament at the Lalbhai Stadium on Saturday.
Yet, following Vidarbha’s victory over Gujarat earlier in the day, Tamil Nadu needed to defeat Meghalaya by 197 runs to qualify as one of the two teams from Group-B for the next phase.
Vidarbha topped the group with five wins and 20 points along with Gujarat with 16 and a NRR of 1.28.
Losing out on run-rate
Tamil Nadu lost out on run-rate, finishing fourth, after Himachal Pradesh, with 16 points at 0.397.
Coach Hrishikesh Kanitkar said “We did not play the key moments of the tournament well. There were occasions when we allowed partnerships to build. We need to combine better as a team.”
The hapless Meghalaya was easy meat for the side though. Batting first, Tamil Nadu powered to 213 for two with Vijay notching up a pleasing 107 (67b, 9×4, 5×6).
Vijay and the left-handed Washington Sundar (53, 37b, 5×4, 2×6) put on 139 for the first wicket in 14.1 overs.
Vijay was elegant and cultured with his strokes in a format where brute force is often seen. The right-hander dissected the Meghalaya attack, stroking the ball through the gaps and clearing the field effortlessly, whether easing the ball over the cover fence or flicking it beyond the mid-wicket ropes. In the end overs, the big-hitting R. Vivek thumped the Meghalaya attack with a 14-ball unbeaten 36 (4×4, 2×6).
Never in the hunt
Meghalaya was never in the hunt and was just content to bat through the overs.
There were some runs for skipper Puneet Bisht (27) and Gurinder Singh (38 not out, 30b, 5×4). Leggie Murugan Ashwin was among the wickets.
Eventually, this was not enough to see Tamil Nadu through.