Karnataka defend Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy against Tamil Nadu in last-ball thriller

Karnataka became the first team to defend the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy as they registered a narrow 1-run victory over Tamil Nadu at the Lalbhai Contractor Stadium, Surat on 1st December (Sunday). The South Indian side completed a white-ball double as they were victorious in the Vijay Hazare Trophy 2019 as well. Karnataka captain Manish Pandey earned the player of the match award for his knock of 60 not out.

Ashwin starts off the show

Karnataka’s in-form opening pair KL Rahul and Devdutt Padikkal began the final in a blazing fashion. Rahul was belligerent from the beginning and rushed to 22 from just 14 balls. It was R Ashwin then who provided the first twist. The off-spinner sent back Rahul and Mayank Agarwal on consecutive deliveries to bring back his side in the game.

Pandey takes control

Captain Pandey stepped up in the precarious situation and along with Rohan Kadam started the recovery process. After consolidating Karnataka’s position, Pandey (60 not out) and Kadam opted the attacking route and built pressure on Tamil Nadu bowlers. Murugan Ashwin and T Natarajan provided some control in the death overs for Tamil side but Karnataka still managed 180/5 in their 20 overs.

Baba Aparajith raises hopes

Tamil Nadu openers Hari Nishanth and Shahrukh Khan fell early in an attempt to provide a fast start. Captain Dinesh Karthik and Washington Sundar adopted the same route but proved more successful. Both were dismissed within an over of each other. Batting at number five, Aparajith struck 40 from just 25 balls with three sixes to keep Tamil Nadu alive in the match.

The final scramble

After Aparajith’s fall, Vijay Shankar assumed the mantle. The chasing side needed 13 runs from the final over. R Ashwin seemed to seal the game with two boundaries on the first two balls. Off-spinner K Gowtham kept his cool as the target came down to 5 from 3 balls. Vijay Shankar’s run out on the penultimate ball left Tamil Nadu three runs to score off the final delivery. It went nowhere as Murugan Ashwin played all around it. Only a single on the final ball handed Karnataka the Syed Mushtaq Ali trophy in front of a jam-packed Surat crowd.

Brief scores:

Karnataka 180/5 in 20 overs (M Pandey 60*, R Kadam 35; M Ashwin 2-33, R Ashwin 2-34) beat Tamil Nadu 179/6 in 20 overs (V Shankar 44, B Aparajith 40; R More 2-32) by 1 run.

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