Vijay Hazare Trophy semifinal: Tamil Nadu, Saurashtra clash in battle of equals

In what promises to be an intriguing contest, Tamil Nadu and Saurashtra – the two strongest among the last four remaining – will face off in the semifinals of the Vijay Hazare Trophy in Jaipur on Friday.

Saurashtra, the only unbeaten side in the tournament, won the quarterfinal against Vidarbha on Wednesday. Led by Jaydev Unadkat, the teamโ€™s success has revolved around its bowlers, who bowled out the opposition cheaply before the batters chased down modest targets comfortably in five of the six matches.

Fridayโ€™s clash will test Saurashtraโ€™s bowling against the batting firepower of TN, which has the likes of Dinesh Karthik, M Shahrukh Khan, Washington Sundar and N. Jagadeesan in its ranks.

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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 has been dependent on all-rounder Prerak Mankad and opener Harvik Desai. Both have scored centuries but would want the likes of Sheldon Jackson and Arpit Vasavada to come to the fore.

Speaking to Sportstar, Unadkat said, โ€œWe are relaxed and confident going into the match. Our bowling has been our strength, and we know they are a strong batting unit. We feel we can pose a strong threat to them, but batting is an area we feel we can improve.โ€

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Skillful bowling

Tamil Nadu, in contrast, has had more success with runs on board. It has used its skilful spinners to do the damage while defending totals. Sundar leads the wickets charts for TN with 15 victims. The 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 and move the new ball, TN would feel it has the batters to tackle the tough phase as it did against Karnataka.

TN Coach M. Venkatraman said, โ€œOur batters are good enough to tackle their strong bowling unit. Also, if we bowl first, we hope to put their batting unit under pressure.โ€

Head to head: Tamil Nadu vs Saurashtra

Their first meeting in Vijay Hazare Trophy.

Stats provided by O.P. Sharma, Rajasthan Cricket Association Statistician

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