Inspired by a belligerent century from seasoned keeper-batsman Dinesh Karthik, Tamil Nadu outshone Bengal by 37 runs at the Feroz Shah Kotla here on Monday, to clinch the domestic 50-over cricket competition, the 2016-17 Vijay Hazare Trophy for the fifth time.
Monday's summit clash resembled the 2008-09 and 2009-10 finals, when Tamil Nadu got the better of the Bengal side. Besides that, the Southern side bagged the inaugural title way back in 2002-03 before sharing the trophy with Uttar Pradesh in 2004-05.
Electing to bat after winning the toss, Karthik (112) used all his experience to guide the Southern side to a decent 217 after Bengal pacers Mohammed Shami (4/26) and Ashoke Dinda (3/36) ripped through the Tamil Nadu line-up to bundle them out in 47.2 overs.
Tamil Nadu were straightway in a spot of bother after losing four quick top order wickets of Kaushik Gandhi (15), Ganga Sridhar Raju (4), Baba Aparajith (5) and skipper Vijay Shankaar (2) with only 49 runs on the board.
But Karthik and Baba Indrajith (32) put the Tamil Nadu team back in the hunt with a 85-run fifth-wicket stand before Washington Sundar (22) came up with a cameo to take the side past the 150-run mark.
Karthik, who consumed just 120 balls for his knock, slammed 14 boundaries before being dismissed hit-wicket by Shami.
In reply, Bengal too got off to a devastating start, losing opener Abhimanyu Easwaran (1) and Agniv Pan (0) in the same over to find themselves at 4/2.
Stumper Shreevats Goswami (23) and skipper Manoj Tiwary (32) fended off good starts as Bengal found themselves tottering at 68/4 by the 21st over.
Middle order batsmen Sudip Chatterjee (58) and Anustup Majumdar (24) then added 65 runs for the fifth wicket to bring the Bengal side back into contention before Aparajith broke the partnership by sending back Majumdar. Aamir Ghani too fired a 30-ball 24 but it was not enough to get his team over the line.
Thereafter, it was a one-way traffic for the Southern giants as they picked wickets at regular intervals, including the last five scalps within a space of 37 runs to bundle the rivals out for 180 in the 46th over.
For Tamil Nadu, Aswin Christ, M. Mohammed and Rahi Shah picked two wickets each while Shankar, Aparajith and R. Sai Kishore took one wicket apiece.
BRIEF SCORES: Tamil Nadu 217 (Dinesh Karthik 112, Baba Indrajith 32, Washington Sundar 22, Mohammed Shami 4/26, Ashoke Dinda 3/36) beat Bengal 180 (Sudip Chatterjee 58, Manoj Tiwary 32, Aamir Gani 24, Aswin Crist 2/23, M.Mohammed 2/30) by 37 runs. IANS