Syed Mushtaq Ali T20: TN takes on Karnataka

The surface at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium, with two to three millimetre grass on it, might offer some movement and carry to the pacemen. But then, the ball could also come on to the bat, encouraging strokeplay.

Big-hitting seam-bowling all-rounders, Karnataka’s Stuart Binny and Tamil Nadu captain Vijay Shankar, could be influential.

There should be no dearth of weighty blows in the slimmest format of the game in the days ahead at Chepauk.

And a marquee clash should set the tempo for the Syed Mushtaq Ali Twenty20 tournament beginning here on Sunday.

Tamil Nadu upstaged Karnataka in a Southern Derby shoot-out on a Visakhapatnam seam trap earlier this season but that was in the Ranji Trophy. The dynamics of the contest change dramatically in the T20 format.

When these two heavyweights meet, past will have little relevance. Both teams will be playing the moment in what could be a tense, tight duel. Scenarios do change quickly in this format.

Coming ahead of the IPL auction on February 4, there will be much focus on the fresh players. And the pressure to perform could be immense with possible fat contracts looming.

The surface at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium, with two to three millimetre grass on it, might offer some movement and carry to the pacemen. But then, the ball could also come on to the bat, encouraging strokeplay.

It drizzled here during practice on Saturday but the forecast for Sunday is good. And the action on view could be gripping.

Big-hitting seam-bowling all-rounders, Karnataka’s Stuart Binny and Tamil Nadu captain Vijay Shankar, could be influential.

The mercurial Karun Nair returns to the arena where he made a sensational triple century in the final Test against England.

Mayank Agarwal is a free-stroking top-order batsman. In skipper Vinay Kumar and left-armer S. Arvind, the visitor has a pace combination of contrasts but this Karnataka team has some new names.

For Tamil Nadu, left-handed opener Abhinav Mukund can rotate strike and guide the innings; it would be interesting to see who partners Abhniav given the several options before the host.

And Dinesh Karthik can be explosive on his day. B. Aparajith is a fluent batsman in this format while S. Anirudha can hit the ball a long way. N. Jagadeesan, who made such an impression in TNPL, can flay attacks.

Will Tamil Nadu pick senior cricketer R. Sathish in the XI? Vijay Shankar said, “Sathish is one of those cricketers who can change the course of a match,” perhaps giving a hint into the team-management’s thinking.

Pace is Tamil Nadu’s strength. But then, fitness could be an issue as the tournament progresses. Although Aswin Crist and T. Natarajan were strapped during training, Vijay Shankar said both pacemen had recovered well from injuries.

Spinners, left-armer Rahil Shah and leggie Murugan Ashwin, could play a role too.

In other games on Sunday, Hyderabad meets Goa and Andhra takes on Kerala.

The teams:

Tamil Nadu (from): Vijay Shankar (captain), B. Aparajith (vice-captain), Abhinav Mukund, N. Jagatheesan (wk), S. Anirudha, Dinesh Karthik (wk), R. Sathish, Aswin Crist, K. Vignesh, T. Natarajan, Murugan Ashwin, Rahil Shah, B. Indrajith, Kaushik Gandhi, Harish Kumar, Sanjay Yadav.

Karnataka (from): Vinay Kumar (captain), Karun Nair (vice-captain), Mayank Agarwal, R. Samarth, Stuart Binny, C.M. Gautham (wk), J. Suchith, K. Gowtham, K.C. Cariappa, Pawan Deshpande, Anirudh Joshi, S. Arvind, Shishir Bhavane, T. Pradeep, Mohammad Taha.

Match begins at 1.30 pm.

  Dugout videos