Hemant Brar is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo
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Himachal Pradesh 299 for 4 (Arora 136*, Amit 74, Dhawan 42*, Aparajith 1-45, Washington 1-47) beat Tamil Nadu 314 (Karthik 116, Indrajith 80, Shahrukh 42, Jaswal 4-59, Dhawan 3-62) by 11 runs (VJD method)
Wicketkeeper-opener Shubham Arora's unbeaten 136 off 131 balls paved the way for Himachal Pradesh's maiden Vijay Hazare title as they beat Tamil Nadu by 11 runs via the VJD method at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur. Chasing 315, Himachal needed 16 from 15 balls with six wickets in hand when bad light stopped play.
Left-hander Arora was brisk right from the start. While Tamil Nadu's spinners struck back with three wickets after a rapid start, Arora found an ally in Amit Kumar. The two put together 148 off 150 balls for the fourth wicket, ensuring the asking rate never went out of hand.
When B Aparajith dismissed Amit for a 79-ball 74, Himachal needed 71 from 8.5 overs. That brought captain Rishi Dhawan to the crease, with the stage set for his strokeplay. His quickfire 42 not out off 23 balls meant Tamil Nadu didn't have an opening. Arora, who struck 13 fours and a six in his maiden List A hundred, was named Player of the Match.
Earlier, Dinesh Karthik's 116 off 103 balls, studded with eight fours and seven sixes, had lifted Tamil Nadu to 314 but in the end, it didn't prove to be enough.
After winning the toss, Dhawan cited moisture in the surface as a reason behind bowling first. On a gloomy morning, he expected the fresh pitch to help his seamers early on.
Vinay Galetiya proved his captain right when he breached Aparajith's defence with the one that kept coming in with the angle. Shortly afterwards, Dhawan himself dealt Tamil Nadu a blow and N Jagadeesan caught behind with his first ball of the day.
With the sun not yet out and the ball hooping around, Tamil Nadu promoted lower-order batters R Sai Kishore and M Ashwin to No. 3 and No. 4 respectively. The two added 17 for the third wicket in almost six overs, adding 17 before Kishore edged Pankaj Jaswal to first slip.
Ashwin fell soon after, becoming Dhawan's second victim. That left Tamil Nadu 40 for 4 in the 15th over but by now the sun had come out and they had two main batters, Karthik and B Indrajith, in the middle.
Tamil Nadu knew they needed to up the scoring rate and the first signs of that came from Karthik. In the 21st over, he stepped out against Galetiya and hit him over long-on. Two balls later, he slog-swept him over deep square leg for his second six before repeating the shot in the bowler's next over for the same result.
It was yet another sweep - this time off left-arm spinner Akash Vasisht for four - that brought up Karthik's half-century, off 67 balls. Himachal could have sent him back when he was on 53 but Arora put down the chance off Jaswal.
Indrajith, who was playing second fiddle until then, also opened up. With a flurry of boundaries, he reached his half-century off just 57 balls despite being on 27 off 44 balls at one stage.
At the other end, Karthik struck 6, 4, 6 off consecutive Jaswal deliveries and moved closer to his hundred. On 96, he offered Himachal another chance when he ended up top-edging a lap sweep off left-arm spinner Mayank Dagar, but short third man grassed the opportunity.
Karthik brought up his century off 96 balls but Indrajith fell for 80 off 71. But their 202-run partnership off just 164 balls, followed by Shahrukh Khan's 42 off 21, gave Tamil Nadu a formidable total even though they were all out in 49.4 overs.
Himachal started their chase in a positive manner, with Prashant Chopra and Arora adding 60 in just 8.5 overs. Seeing his seamers going for runs, Vijay Shankar turned to spin, and Kishore didn't take long to strike, castling Chopra for 21. In the next over, Washington Sundar bowled Digvijay Rangi for nought to make it 61 for 2.
Arora, meanwhile, brought up his half-century, while Nikhil Gangta hit a couple of sixes to keep the scorecard ticking. However, their stand was cut short by Ashwin, who had Gangta holing out for a 23-ball 18.
Arora and Amit kept Himachal afloat and took the side to 150 in the 26th over. When the boundaries dried up, the duo ran hard between the wickets. As a result, without taking any real risks, they brought down the equation to 142 required from the last 20 overs with seven wickets in hand.
Amit reached his fifty off 57 balls; two overs later, Arora brought up his hundred off 95 balls. After reaching the landmark, Arora hit Aparajith for a straight hit to bring the target under 100.
Tamil Nadu had a chance to break the stand in the 38th over when both batters found themselves near the striker's end after a mix-up. Vijay, though, failed to collect the ball, allowing Arora to trace back his steps. Arora was batting on 112 at that time.
Aparajith finally broke through with Amit's wicket, trapping him lbw when the batter tried to swipe one fine, but Dhawan slogged the bowler over deep midwicket on the second ball he faced to ease off the pressure. Then with an array of cut shots, he found successive boundaries against both Ashwin and Kishore. An over later, the required rate had plunged to almost run a ball.
Arora gave Tamil Nadu another chance in the 47th over but the mid-off fielder put down the catch, and when play was stopped, Himachal were comfortably ahead of the VJD target.
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