The first semi-final in Rajkot saw Haryana claim a historic win that propelled them into their maiden Vijay Hazare Trophy final. They defeated the star-studded Tamil Nadu, a five-time champion, by 63 runs. Haryana’s triumph was fueled by an unbeaten century from Himanshu Rana, a brisk finish from Sumit Kumar, and a solid bowling attack. In the absence of lead spinner Yuzvendra Chahal, who was on national duty in South Africa, the bowling attack combined to dismiss Tamil Nadu for 230.
Haryana’s innings saw a steady start before picking up pace with a second-wicket partnership between Yuvraj Singh and Himanshu. Despite a slight slip in the middle order, Himanshu anchored the innings and was joined by Sumit, who played a game-changing innings. Himanshu’s century came off 110 balls and consisted mostly of boundaries, with 11 fours and two sixes. Tamil Nadu’s chase was dented early on when their regular No. 3, Baba Indrajit, suffered an injury and had to move down the order. Haryana capitalized on this by taking crucial wickets, and despite a fightback from Dinesh Karthik and Indrajith, Tamil Nadu fell short of the target.
Tamil Nadu’s captain, Karthik, expressed disappointment at the loss and pointed out the need for big partnerships from his team’s batters. Haryana’s captain, Ashok Menaria, praised his team for stepping up in the absence of Chahal and acknowledged that he initially thought their total of 293 would not be enough.