Rishi Dhawan shines with bat and ball as HP down Services
Baba Aparajith steers Tamil Nadu past Saurashtra.
Rishi Dhawan led from the front with an all-round show as Himachal Pradesh beat Services by 77 runs in the semi-final, at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur on Friday, to set up the title clash against Tamil Nadu in the Vijay Hazare Trophy domestic One-Day championship.
Batting at No 6, the Himachal Pradesh skipper top-scored with a 77-ball 84 to help his side recover from a mid-innings collapse and put up a fighting 281 for 6.
In reply, Services were bundled out for 204 in 46.1 overs, with Dhawan being the wrecker-in-chief with figures of four for 27 from 8.1 overs.
In the other semi-final, also in Jaipur, Baba Aparajith smashed 122 to help Tamil Nadu eke out a two-wicket win over Saurashtra.
This was after Saurashtra rode on a blistering 134 by Sheldon Jackson to post an imposing 310 for 8.
Dhawan hit nine boundaries and a six, and got perfect support from Akash Vasisht, who smacked four boundaries and two sixes in his quickfire 45 not out from 29 balls.
Put in to bat, Himachal lost Shubham Arora in the second over of the day, but, thereafter, Prashant Chopra (78 off 109 balls) and Digvijay Rangi (37 off 59 balls) were at their watchful best.
It meant Himachal were slow off the blocks, taking 22.2 overs to reach the 100-run mark.
Trying to accelerate the scoring, Himachal lost three wickets for 24 runs in the middle overs to find themselves 106 for 4 at the half-way mark.
Off-spinner Rahul Singh provided the breakthrough, dismissing Rangi, while Nikhil Gangta (16) was run-out after a brilliant throw from Mohit Ahlawat.
Services pace spearhead Diwesh Pathania then trapped Amit Kumar for a duck as Himachal looked in a spot of bother.
But Dhawan arrested the slide, playing the perfect fiddle to the well-set Chopra, the duo stitching 88 runs for the fifth wicket.
Chopra, however, failed to convert his start and got out in the 42nd over and then it was Dhawan-Vasisht show as they seized the momentum in the death overs with their counter-attacking show.
The duo were involved in an entertaining 83-run partnership before Dhawan got out in the final over.
Dhawan, the seam-bowling all-rounder, then came to the party with the ball, taking the first two Services wickets -- Lakhan Singh (7) and Mohit Ahlawat (6) -- for 36 runs inside 13 overs.
Vasisht also followed up his superb show with the bat by bagging 2 for 28 with his left-arm spin.
Services skipper Rajat Paliwal kept the team in the hunt with a fine half-century (55 off 66 balls) as they needed 133 runs from 15 overs.
But Siddharth Saxena then dismissed Paliwal and Pulkit Narang to derail Services' chase.
Saxena also ran out wicketkeeper batsman Devender Lochab as Services lost two wickets in succession in the 41st over.
Later, Dhawan polished off the tail, castling Raj Bahadur en route to his fourth wicket to seal the issue for Himachal.
Himachal Pradesh: 281 for 6 in 50 overs (Rishi Dhawan 84, Prashant Chopra 78, Akash Vasisht 45 not out; Raj Bahadur 2/52) beat Services (Rajat Paliwal 55, Ravi Chauhan 45; Rishi Dhawan 4/27, Akash Vasisht 2/28, Siddharth Saxena 2/34) by 77 runs.
Tamil Nadu score last-ball win over Saurashtra
Saurashtra's effort was overshadowed by Aparajith's master-class coupled with half-centuries by his brother Indrajith (50) and Washington Sundar's (70) late cameo as TN chased down the stiff target off the final ball.
TN needed seven runs off the final over and tail-enders R Sai Kishore (12 not out) and R Silambarasan (2 not out) brought it down to 1 of the last ball off medium-pacer Chirag Jani.
Sai Kishore finished off the chase in style with a boundary.
Earlier asked to bat, Saurashtra openers Viharsinh Jadeja (52; 6x4s; 1x6) and Harvik Desai (9) added 31 runs.
Medium pacer Silambasaran (3/54) trapped Desai in front of the wicket to give his side the first breakthrough.
Then Jackson joined Jadeja and the duo added 92 runs for the second wicket. Jackson, who was more aggressive, upped the ante.
It was 23-year-old spinner M Siddharth (1/46), who broke the partnership after dismissing Jadeja.
After Jadeja fell, Jackson and Prerak Mankad (37) continued the onslaught.
While Jackson struck 11 fours and four sixes in his 125-ball knock, Mankad hammered four boundaries and a lone six. Jackson and Mankad conjured 81 runs for the third wicket as Saurashtra cruised ahead.
However, it was Silambasaran once again, who did the trick for his side, dismissing Mankad.
After 40 overs, Saurashtra were 217 for 3.
From there on, Jackson was unstoppable as he went all guns blazing.
Arpit Vasavada (57 off 40 balls; 4x4s; 2x6s) was the perfect ally for Jackson, as the two took on the attack with ease.
Jackson departed in the 46th over after doing bulk of the damage but Vasavada's late cameo ensured Saurashtra crossed the 300-run mark.
For Tamil Nadu, skipper Vijay Shankar took four wickets.
Chasing 311, TN lost opener N Jagadeesan (0), who was caught by Desai in the second slip off Chetan Sakariya (5/62).
Sakariya struck again, removing Shankar (4), who drove straight to point, as TN slumped to 23 for two.
However, Aparajith, who hammered 12 boundaries and 3 maximums, and Indrajith (50; 5x4s; 1x6) then steadied the ship as they took the game deep and conjured crucial 97 runs for the third wicket to keep TN in the hunt.
Leggie Yuvraj Chudasma (2/69) pegged TN back by cleaning up Indrajith. Dinesh Karthik (31) was also unable to convert his falling to Jaydev Unadkat (1/66) with TN reeling at 168 for 4.
TN's hopes were pinned on Aparajith and the determined opener and Sundar forged a 76-run stand for the fifth wicket to take their side closer to the target.
But the match was far from over as Apararajith was holed out at deep extra cover in 43rd over and then burly Shahrukh Khan (17) also fell in the 47th over.
Sakariya the dismissed Sundar and Siddharth in the penultimate over to raise Saurashtra's hopes.
But it was not to be as TN tail-enders held their nerves to take their side into the title clash, where they will face on Himachal Pradesh on Sunday.
Saurashtra 310 for 8 in 50 overs (Sheldon Jackson 134, Arpit Vasavada 57; Vijay Shankar 4/72) lost to Tamil Nadu 314 for 8 in 50 overs (B Aparajith 122, Washington Sundar 70; Chetan Sakariya 5/62) by two wickets.