Chennai: Tamil Nadu’s run of three back-to-back victories in the Vijay Hazare Trophy came to a halt when they lost to Pondicherry by 1 run under the VJD method in a rain-affected clash at Thiruvananthapuram on Sunday. Pondicherry No. 7 Fabid Ahmed’s allround show — 87* with the bat and 2-22 with the ball — helped Pondicherry notch up the win. Pondy scored 225-9 and then restricted Tamil Nadu to 204-9 in 44 overs, one shy of the target following a rain intervention. For Tamil Nadu, Washington Sundar starred with the ball – taking 5 for 48. It was the maiden List A meeting between the two sides.Chasing 226, Tamil Nadu remained in the hunt thanks to Dinesh Karthik (65, 7×4, 1×6) and N Jagadeesan (64, 4×4) who added 90 runs for the fourth wicket. Tamil Nadu’s charge was halted by rain for about 10 minutes in the 32nd over and their target was revised to 206 in 44 overs.The subsequent phase saw Tamil Nadu lose the plot as Pondicherry bowlers kept picking wickets at regular intervals. The dismissals of Karthik, Jagadeesan, M Shahrukh Khan (8) and J Kousik (1) pegged Tamil Nadu’s scoring rate and they needed 9 runs off the final over. Pondicherry medium-pacer Sagar Trivedi (1-17) gave away 7 runs as M Mohammed (17) and M Siddharth (4 n.o.) faltered in the final phase of the clash. Apart from Fabid and Sagar, slow-ball bowlers — Bharat Sharma (2-33), Sagar Udeshi (1-55), Pavan Deshpande (1-27) — and medium-pacer Subodh Bhati (1-44) too contributed with the ball for Pondicherry. “It was a memorable win for us. Fabid’s innings made all the difference in the first half. In the second half, each one of our bowlers chipped in with wickets and it was a total team effort,” Pondicherry skipper Rohit Damodaran told TOI. The contest, first reduced to 49-overs-a-side due to damp pitch, saw Pondicherry struggling at 83 for 7 in the 23rd over. Fabid’s mature knock, after arriving with his side on 74 for 5, turned the match on its head. Despite losing partners in the initial phase of his 84-ball innings, Fabid found an able ally in No. 11 Bharath Bhushan Sharma (22 n.o., 2×4). The two added 78 runs for their unfinished 10th wicket stand that saw Pondicherry finish with a fighting total. Fabid’s innings contained seven fours and four sixes. Brief scores: Pondicherry 225-9 in 49 overs (Fabid Ahmed 87 n.o.; Washington Sundar 5-48). Tamil Nadu 204-9 in 44 overs (N Jagadeesan 64, Dinesh Karthik 65, Fabid 2-22). Pondicherry won by 1 run using the VJD method.
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