Himachal stun mighty TN in Vijay Hazare Trophy final for a maiden title

With a surprising 11-run triumph over powerhouse Tamil Nadu in the final of the Vijay Hazare Trophy here on Sunday, the alpine state of Himachal Pradesh reached its pinnacle in cricket. Shubham Arora, a youngster, debuted with a bang with his first List. Himachal Pradesh won their first-ever domestic one-day title after defeating five-time champions Tamil Nadu using the VJD method.

Himachal Pradesh, who were playing in their first Vijay Hazare final, reacted in spectacular fashion, with the 24-year-old wicketkeeper-batter scoring a superb 136 not out with 13 fours and one six.

Bad light delayed play at 5 p.m., with Himachal on 299/4 in 47.3 overs and needing 16 off 15 balls, before Himachal was declared winners under the VJD Method. Since the 2019-20 season, Tamil Nadu has been the finest domestic white-ball cricket team in the country.

After losing in the finals of the one-day and T20 events in 2019, the squad has won back-to-back Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy T20s (2020-21 and 2021-22), however this time underdogs Himachal outplayed the favourites.

On a day when senior wicketkeeper-batsman and former captain Dinesh Karthik hit an exciting 103-ball 116, the youthful Himachal glovesman shone with his well-calculated, unbeaten century under pressure.

Rishi Dhawan made another excellent decision in sending Amit Kumar ahead of him, as the skipper chose to play the role of a finisher, after electing to field on a flat Sawai Mansingh Stadium. The move paid off, as Arora and Amit (74 from 79 balls; 6×4) scored 148 for the fourth wicket in a match-winning stand.

Himachal needed 71 from 54 deliveries after Baba Aparajith gave TN the much-needed breakthrough by dismissing Amit, but Rishi performed his part to perfection, pounding the opposing bowling attack to make it look easy in the end.