'We deserved it' - Manish Pandey after leading Karnataka to SMAT title

‘We deserved it’ – Manish Pandey after leading Karnataka to SMAT title

Manish Pandey played a valiant role both with his bat as well as a leader.

Manish Pandey and KL Rahul
Manish Pandey and KL Rahul. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Karnataka continued their dominant run in the ongoing domestic season. After having already won the fifty-over Vijay Hazare Trophy where they beat Dinesh Karthik’s Tamil Nadu, the Manish Pandey-led unit did an encore in Surat and became the only team in the history of Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 trophy to retain the coveted trophy. Chasing 5-180, Tamil Nadu were on course of scaling down the target when Baba Aparajith and Vijay Shankar were going great guns.

However, an untimely dismissal of Aparajith and an unfortunate run-out- thanks to Manish Pandey’s brilliance- meant they fell agonisingly one run short. Pandey, who is having a gala time, both with the bat as well as captain of Karnataka was naturally very happy to achieve the feat.

“We won it last year but this year the victory was a lot sweeter. The way the boys played the entire tournament has been unbelievable. Everyone has put in so much effort that I thought it was a very good game. It came neck to neck but we deserved it. You have to enjoy each other’s success, and if you do, you have higher chances of winning finals like these,” said skipper Manish Pandey post the final.

“Hopefully, there is more to come. When everybody tells me that I am the best fielder in the team, you have to take responsibility. I have taken it upon me to field there (long-on) and all the practice comes helpful in a situation like this and that run-out probably changed the game. I’m looking forward to the India series. For all the games that we played in Surat, the crowds turned up. We have some good stars they’ve come to watch and hopefully they’ll remember this match for a long time,” he added.

Manish Pandey stroked an unbeaten 60 off 45 balls in the final

It was a game worthy of a final. And, we have seen a plethora of last-ball finals in 2019- IPL, World Cup, T20 Blast were all decided on the last ball. And, skipper Manish Pandey played a valiant role both with his bat as well as a leader. The Karnataka captain stroked an unbeaten 60 off 45 balls to help his side post a competitive 5-180 in 20 overs. 

And, when the chips were down and it needed something out of extraordinary to turn the game back in the favour of the defending champion, Pandey affected a great throw from the deep to run-out Vijay Shankar and eventually help his side register a one-wicket win.