Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy | TN & Karnataka to cross swords in final


Four-in-a row for Nalkande as Vidarbha puts up a fight; Hyderabad surrenders meekly

As anticipated, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka will cross swords in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy at the Ferozeshah Kotla ground on Monday.

Karnataka kept calm, struck at regular intervals and subdued a fighting Vidarbha to make its third final in four editions after defending champion TN raced past Hyderabad.

Another close call

For the third time in the knockout phase, Karnataka faced a close call. After beating Saurashtra by two wickets and Bengal in the Super Over, Karnataka just about managed, by four runs, to survive Vidarbha’s splendid resurgence. With Vidarbha needing 14 runs off the last over from Vidyadhar Patil, Karnataka ensured victory with a ball to spare after a wicket and five runs came off the first five deliveries.

Patil, who dropped two simple catches, could afford a smile and a final-ball boundary to Darshan Nalkande.

Earlier, Karnataka posted 176 for seven despite offering four wickets off successive deliveries to Nalkande in the 20th over. Looking for big hits, Annirudha Joshi, B.R. Sharath, J. Suchith and Abhinav Manohar became Nalkande’s victims.

The total was built on a 132-run foundation laid by Rohan Kadam (87, 56b, 7×4, 4×6) and skipper Manish Pandey (54, 42b, 2×4, 3×6). Kadam, dropped by skipper-wicketkeeper Akshay Wadkar on four in the first over, hurt Vidarbha in a big way.

Pandey played the way he does. The idea to promote Abhinav Manohar also worked as he kept the run-rate up with a 13-ball 27 (2×4, 2×6). However, Karnataka failed to finish with a flourish.

A no-contest

The Tamil Nadu-Hyderabad match never rose as a contest. From winning the toss to finishing the job with a six, skipper Vijay Shankar got everything right.

Asked to bat, Hyderabad paid the price for lacking the application needed to survive in testing conditions and folded for 90. Medium-pacer Saravana Kumar’s disciplined bowling fetched him four wickets in the PowerPlay before Murugan Ashwin reduced Hyderabad to 39 for five in 6.2 overs.

Only No. 8 Tanay Thyagarajan (25, 1×4, 1×6) reached double figures before Saravana, who once had figures of 2-2-0-3, returned in the 19th over to finish with five for 21.

TN’s catching stood out in accepting all 10 offerings, mostly inside the 30-yard circle, as Hyderabad’s search for big hits resulted in only four boundaries and three sixes.

In reply, after the openers exited early, Vijay Shankar (43 n.o., 40b, 4×4, 1×6) and Sai Sudharsan (34 n. o., 31b, 4×4) did not put a foot wrong. They raised 76 runs without taking undue risks to cross the finish-line.

The scores:

Hyderabad 90 in 18.3 overs (Saravana Kumar 5/21) lost to Tamil Nadu 92/2 in 14.2 overs (Vijay Shankar 43 n.o., Sai Sudharsan 34 n.o.).

Karnataka 176/7 in 20 overs (Rohan Kadam 87, Manish Pandey 54, Darshan Nalkande 4/28) bt Vidarbha 172/6 in 20 overs (Atharva Taide 32, Ganesh Satish 31).

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