Jaipur: Baba Aparajith starred with an all-round performance, striking an unbeaten 111 (124 balls, 7 fours, 1 six) after taking 4 for 30 as Tamil Nadu thrashed Railways by eight wickets to notch up a seventh straight win in Group 'C' of the Vijay Hazare Trophy cricket tournament here on Wednesday.
Tamil Nadu leads the group with 7 wins and 28 points and is almost certain to qualify for the knockout phase.
Gujarat is currently second with six wins from six matches and has three in hand.
Replying to Railways' 200 for 9 in 50 overs, Tamil Nadu cruised home in 44.1 overs thanks Aparajith's ton and his 186-run third wicket partnership with all-rounder Vijay Shankar (72, 113 balls, 3 fours, 1 six).
Earlier, Manish Rao (55, 85 balls, 4 fours) and Pratham Singh (43, 56 balls, 5 fours, 1 six) batted well as Railways managed 200 in the quota of 50 overs. Aparajith did most of the damage, taking four wickets to stymie Railways' progress as it slipped from 159 for 3 to 180 for 9 in the space of some seven overs.
Tamil Nadu's chase did not get off to a great start as the in-form Abhinav Mukund fell for 11, caught and bowled by Ananta Saha while his opening partner Murali Vijay was run-out for 6.
However, Aparajith and Shankar dashed any hopes the Railways had of launching a fightback with a superb partnership, during which they played some attractive shots and rotated strike
Aparajith has been in great form in the tournament and added a century to his four half-centuries.
The Railways captain Arindam Ghosh tried eight bowlers but not could make an impression on Aparajith and Shankar, who collected runs in a calm and impressive fashion, overhauling the taraget in the 45th over.
In other matches, Rajasthan defeated services for its first win while Bengal beat Tripura by five wickets.
Brief scores: Railways 200 for 9 in 50 overs (Manish Rao 55, Pratham Singh 43, B Aparajith 4/30) lost to Tamil Nadu 203 for 2 in 44.1 overs (Aparajith 111 not out, Vijay Shankar 72 not out). TN: 4 points, Railways: 0.
Tripura 224 all out in 49 overs (Mishra 72, Milind 43, M B Mura Singh 30, Akash Deep 2/29, Ishan Porel 2/45) lost to Bengal 227 for 5 in 47.1 overs (Manoj Tiwary 85, Agniv Pan 57, Mura Singh 2/32). Bengal: 4 points, Tripura: 0.
Rajasthan 239 for 8 in 50 overs (Aditya N Garhwal 91, Chetan Bist 71, Diwesh Gurudev Pathania 3/28) beat Services 191 all out in 44 overs (Mohit Ahlwat 49, Nakul Sharma 42, AP Sharma 28, Rahul Chahar 4/56, S K Sharma 3/40). Rajasthan: 4 points, Services: 0.