Bengal, Tamil Nadu to clash in final

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Last year's finalist Bengal and Tamil Nadu set up a title clash for the Vijay Hazare Trophy knock out tournament after winning their semifinals matches.

Updated: March 06, 2009 15:30 IST
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Last year's finalist Bengal and Tamil Nadu on Friday set up a title clash for the Vijay Hazare Trophy knock out tournament after winning their semifinals matches.

The final will be played on March 9. In the first semifinals, Bengal beat Baroda by 81 runs while Tamil Nadu defeated Uttar Pradesh by 35 runs.

Electing to bat first at the Maharaja Bir Bikram Stadium, Bengal scored 227 in 49.5 overs, riding on the good batting display of Manoj Tiwari and skipper Laxmi Ratan Shukla. They both well deserved half centuries by just one run.

While Tiwari's 52-ball innings was studded with six fours, Shukla took 78 deliveries and four boundaries to reach 49. Opener Srivats Goswami also scored 41 (65 balls, 4X5).

Spinner Rajesh Pawar took three Bengal wickets for 59. Set a victory target of 228 runs, Baroda was bundled out with 146 runs in 40.2 overs, owing to poor batting.

Only Rajesh Pawar's 43 (46 balls, 4x4, 6x1), S R Solanki's 25 (48 balls, 4X4) and 13 by P R Shah, none of the Baroda batsmen could reach double figure.

Bengal pacer Laxmi Ratan Shukla bowled brilliantly and bagged three for 33 while Ranadeb Bose, Iresh Saxena and A Chowdhury took two wickets each.

In the other semifinal at the Polytechnic Ground, Tamil Nadu scored 197 in 49.5 overs and then bundled out Uttar Pradesh for 162 in 44.5 overs.

After winning the toss, Tamil Nadu decided to bat but lost five quick wickets. S Suresh Kumar stood tall with a 94-run knock that eventually turned the tide in his side's favour.

He was returned by R P Singh who trapped him LBW. His 132-ball innings was decorated with ten hits to the fence and two over-boundaries. C Ganapathy also made 27. Pacers Rudra Pratap Singh and Bhubaneswar Kumar took three wickets each for UP.

In its turn, UP batsmen showed poor technique before the brilliant bowling by Tamil Nadu.

R Shukla scored an unbeaten 56 (87 balls, 4X4) and skipper Md Kaif made 25.

Tamil Nadu bowler V Yomahesh took 3 for 26 and Sudesh Rajagopal and S Suresh Kumar bagged two wickets apiece.

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