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Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy 2019-20: Final, Karnataka vs Tamil Nadu – Review

Karnataka became the first team in Indian domestic history to win all the domestic titles multiple times.

Karnataka
Karnataka. (Photo Source: Twitter)

What a finish to the domestic white-ball season! Karnataka emerged triumphant once again in the domestic season but things were not at all easy in the final hurdle. Tamil Nadu fought hard, nearly had the title in their hands but it slipped out courtesy a fantastic throw from Manish Pandey and one amazing final over from Krishnappa Gowtham. It was another heartbreak for Tamil Nadu in the domestic season and this time, they had themselves to blame.

Karnataka were put in to bat first by Dinesh Karthik, who surprisingly gave just one over in the innings to the highest wicket-taker of the tournament (Sai Kishore). He bowled out Ravichandran Ashwin’s four overs inside the first seven overs and that move proved to be fruitful. After getting hit for a six off KL Rahul, he struck two blows in two deliveries, dismissing Rahul and Mayank Agarwal.

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Devdutt Padikkal kept taking his risks and played the odd audacious shot to find the rope. He played some delightful shots to keep the jam-packed house at Surat on their feet but was dismissed at a crucial juncture by Washington Sundar with an absolute peach. Manish Pandey was accompanied by Rohan Kadam and the left-right combination mixed caution and aggression quite brilliantly.

Pandey kept smacking the odd delivery out of the park whilst Rohan took his time to settle in. Once he was in, he was finding gaps at will and played another important knock for the side, just the way he did in the last edition’s final. Skipper Pandey, who is all set to get married on Monday, completed his half-century and despite Karnataka losing a couple of wickets towards the end, they got a more than the decent total on board.

Dinesh Karthik missed the trick with his bowling changes and that cost them some vital runs towards the end. Pandey remained unbeaten on 60 as Karnataka posted 180 runs for the loss of five wickets. Murugan Ashwin and Ravichandran Ashwin picked up two wickets each for Tamil Nadu, but the pick of their bowlers was Washington Sundar, who registered figures of 1/27 in his 4 overs.

Vijay Shankar and Baba Aparajith take Tamil Nadu nearly to the finish line

The intent was clear from the opening pair of Tamil Nadu, which was changed again by Dinesh Karthik. Shahrukh Khan and Hari Nishanth opened for the side and they clearly wanted a good powerplay. Both batsmen lost their wickets in the process and at this juncture, skipper Dinesh Karthik and Washington Sundar played beautifully to keep their side on par with the required rate.

Dinesh Karthik got lucky when Rohan Kadam nearly pulled off a spectacular catch at deep square, but he didn’t ride on that luck. Karnataka chipped back in the game when they got two crucial wickets in two overs of Karthik and Sundar. It seemed like the game was done, but Baba Aparajith and Vijay Shankar fought back tremendously with a boundary or two nearly every over.

The duo added 71 runs for the 5th wicket and nearly took the side home. The partnership came to an end with Aparajith losing his composure in the 18th over. A couple of boundaries from Shankar and Ashwin in the 19th over meant Tamil Nadu needed 13 off the final over, with Krishnappa Gowtham taking charge. Ashwin got two boundaries off the first two balls, which was followed by a dot ball.

With 5 to get in 3, Ashwin took a single. Shankar hit the ball straight to Manish Pandey off the fifth ball and in an audacious attempt for a second, Pandey’s outrageous throw under immense pressure fetched them only one run. With three needed off the final ball, Murugan Ashwin couldn’t get wood on the cherry and could only manage a single.

After all the hard work both sides put in, neither deserved to lose and the margin of defeat throws light on the quality of Indian domestic cricket. Karnataka thus became the first team in Indian domestic history to win all the domestic titles multiple times.

Brief Scores

Karnataka: 180/5 in 20 overs (Manish Pandey 60*, Rohan Kadam 35; Ravichandran Ashwin 2/34)

Tamil Nadu: 179/6 in 20 overs (Vijay Shankar 44, Baba Aparajith 40; Ronit More 2/34)

Karnataka won by 1 run

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