Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy HIGHLIGHTS 2021-22: Karnataka, Kerala and Vidarbha qualify for SMAT quarterfinals

Get the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy pre-quarterfinals live score, updates and commentary with Maharashtra, Vidarbha, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Karnataka and Saurashtra in action.

Under skipper Manish Pandey, Karnataka has the resources to go all the way despite the late replacements for Mayank Agarwal, Devdutt Padikkal, Prasidh Krishna and K. Gowtham.   -  R V MOORTHY

Hello and welcome to Sportstar's live coverage of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy 2021-22 matches being played in Delhi.

Pre-Quarter 2HP 145/6 in 20 oversKER 147/2 in 19.3 overs
Pre-Quarter 3SAU 145/7 in 20 overs KAR 150/8 in 19.5 overs


The quarterfinal line-ups are set!

November 18, Thursday1st QuarterfinalTamil Nadu vs Kerala8:30AMArun Jaitley Stadium, Delhi
November 18, Thursday2nd QuarterfinalRajasthan vs Vidarbha8:30AMPalam A Stadium,Delhi
November 18, Thursday3rd QuarterfinalBengal vs Karnataka1:00PMArun Jaitley Stadium, Delhi
November 18, Thursday4th QuarterfinalGujarat vs Hyderabad1:00PMPalam A Stadium,Delhi

Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy 2021-22: Knockout matches full schedule, teams, date, timings, venues  

Karnataka 150/8 after 19.5 overs: Debutant Manohar ends the match with the sixth six of his innings! - Karnataka is through to the quarterfinals after beating Saurashtra by two wickets in a thrilling match. Manohar stayed till the end to finish on 70* off 49 hitting two fours and six sixes.

Karnataka 142/8 after 19.2 overs: OUT! Cariappa tries to finish it off with a six but Vishvaraj takes a stunning catch at long-on. Cariappa c Vishvaraj Jadeja b Dharmendrasinh Jadeja 0(2)

Karnataka 141/7 after 19 overs: OUT! Vyshak tries to scoop but misses the ball which just kisses the bails. Great effort by Kushang to take this match to the final over. Vijaykumar Vyshak b Patel 4 (5)

Karnataka 136/6 after 18 overs: Sakariya finishes wicketless. Karnataka needs 10 off 12. The match could finish in the next over.

Karnataka 132/6 after 17 overs: OUT! Unadkat bowls his final over and gets two wickets but he probably would have preferred if one of the batters dismissed was Manohar. First, Joshi provided a simple catch to Mankad at deep mid-wicket. With the last ball of his quota, Unadkat bowled Suchith with a pin-point yorker to finish with the figures of 4/22. Aniruddha Joshi c Prerak Mankad b Unadkat 13 (16), J Suchith b Unadkat 5 (3)

Karnataka 122/4 after 16 overs: Karnataka has scored 32 runs in the last three overs and turned the match on its head. Manohar has reached the half-century mark. Impressive innings from the 27-year-old.

Karnataka 112/4 after 15 overs: Saurashtra seems to have no answers to Manohar's approach. Captain Unadkat probably needs to bring himself back and get a wicket or else, Manohar will surely take Karnataka home.

Karnataka 100/4 after 14 overs: Amazing counter-attack from Manohar who is keeping Karnataka's hopes alive with some clean-hitting as he sends one over mid-wicket long into the stands.

Karnataka 90/4 after 13 overs: Nine off Kushang Patel's third over. The equation - Karnataka needs 56 off 42.

Karnataka 81/4 after 12 overs: Almost! Unadkat brings himself back for his second spell and straight away makes things happen. A slower short ball completely deceived Aniruddha Joshi who plays the pull and the ball falls just short of the fielder at the deep square leg.

Karnataka 77/4 after 11 overs: Two cracking sixes from Manohar against the left-arm spin of Dharmendrasinh Jadeja.

Karnataka 62/4 after 10 overs: OUT! Kadam loses his wicket in the most unfortunate way. Abhinav Manohar drove straight and Chirag Jani managed to touch the ball before it hit the stumps at the non-striker's end. The review showed that Kadam was not even in the frame. Jinx of the text commentator, eh?  Rohan Kadam run out (Chirag Jani) 33 (29)

Karnataka 60/3 after 9 overs: Mankad finishes his first over. Crucially for Karnataka, opener Rohan Kadam is well set at 33* off 29.

Karnataka 51/3 after 8 overs: Eight from Jani's second over as Karnataka looks to rebuild the innings after a horrendous start to what seemed like a comfortable chase in the beginning.

Karnataka 43/3 after 7 overs: Kadam finds the boundary off Kushang before slapping one straight to the cover fielder who drops it. Seven runs come off the over.

Karnataka 36/3 after 6 overs: OUT! Chirag Jani gets the wicket of a struggling Karun Nair who was looking to play it down to third but edged the ball to keeper Jackson. End of powerplay and Karnataka in all sorts of trouble. Karun Nair c Jackson b Chirag Jani 5 (5)

UPDATE FROM KERALA-HIMACHAL PRADESH MATCH - Kerala chases the target of 146 with eight wickets and three balls remaining courtesy of half centuries from Azharuddeen (60) and captain Sanju Samson (52*). Kerala has qualified for the quarterfinals where it will face Tamil Nadu.

Karnataka 33/2 after 5 overs: Right-arm pacer Kushang Patel comes as the first change. He struggles to control the swing and sprays one down the leg side that goes for five wides.

Karnataka 25/2 after 4 overs: Expensive second over from Sakariya. With Unadkat picking wickets from one end, Sakariya needs to make sure that he keeps the pressure on the Karnataka batters.

Karnataka 13/2 after 3 overs: OUT! Clever bowling from Unadkat and he gets Pandey caught at midwicket after setting another trap. Manish Pandey c Dharmendrasinh Jadeja b Unadkat 4 (7)

Karnataka 7/1 after 2 overs: Karnataka skipper Manish Pandey is out in the middle now. Left-arm pacer Sakariya bowls an economical over.

Karnataka 2/1 after 1 over: OUT! Sharath falls into the trap set by Unadkat who pitched it short for Sharath to play the pull and Mankad at deep square leg didn't have to move much. BR Sharath c Prerak Mankad b Unadkat 0(3)

The chase is underway! Rohan Kadam and BR Sharath in the middle. Jaydev Unadkat opens the attack for Saurashtra.

Brief Score: Saurashtra 145/7 - Jackson 50, Vasavada 26, Vyshak 2/19

Fall of wickets: 4-1 (Himalaya Barad, 0.5), 10-2 (Vishvaraj Jadeja, 2.5), 49-3 (Arpit Vasavada, 9.1), 108-4 (Prerak Mankad, 15.5), 112-5 (Sheldon Jackson, 16.6), 113-6 (Jaydev Unadkat, 17.3), 133-7 (Samarth Vyas, 19.3)


Saurashtra 145/7 after 20 overs: OUT! Samarth Vyas' looks to score some quick runs at the end. He doesn't get the distance and Suchith takes the catch at long-off. 19 from Koushik's last over and Saurashtra finishes on 145. Could this be the over that makes the difference? Stay tuned for the chase. Samarth Vyas c J Suchith b V Koushik 17 (10)

Saurashtra 126/6 after 19 overs: End of an excellent spell by Vijaykumar Vyshak who gave only 19 runs and took the key wickets of Vishvaraja Jadeja and Sheldon Jackson.

Saurashtra 119/6 after 18 overs: OUT! Two wickets in two overs for Karnataka. Jaydev Unadkat goes for the big slog but is undone by the slower delivery of Patil. Pandey takes the catch at long-on. Unadkat c Manish Pandey b Vidyadhar Patil 3 (6)

Saurashtra 112/5 after 17 overs: OUT! Jackson skies one after completing his fourth consecutive half-century. First wicket for Vyshak as Rohan Kadam takes the catch. Jackson c Rohan Kadam b Vijaykumar Vyshak 50 (43b, 3x4, 3x6)

Saurashtra 109/4 after 16 overs: OUT! Cariappa gets Mankad who was trying to cut the ball but could only edge it. Sharp catch by Karnataka wicketkeeper Sharath. Prerak Mankad c Sharath BR b Cariappa 23 (20)

Saurashtra 104/3 after 15 overs: Hundred up for Saurashtra. End of Suchith's quota with figures of 4-0-30-0.

Saurashtra 99/3 after 14 overs: Fifty partnership for Jackson and Mankad. Both have done a good job to steady the innings.

Saurashtra 94/3 after 13 overs: Vidyadhar's second spell has started with a 10-run over. For Saurashtra, it is crucial that Jackson stays till the end as he is well set and currently on 44* off 33.

Saurashtra 83/3 after 12 overs: Koushik comes for his third over and he has been hammered by Jackson for a massive six over long-on on a free hit.

Saurashtra 70/3 after 11 overs: Big over for Saurashtra! 15 off Suchith's third over. Jackson and new batter Prerak Mankad both hit one six each. Their team needs more of this in order to post a competitive score on the board.

Saurashtra 55/3 after 10 overs: OUT! Vasavada tries to slog sweep but only manages to find Vidyadhar at deep midwicket who takes an easy catch. Vasavada c Vidyadhar Patil b Cariappa 26 (24)

Saurashtra 49/2 after 9 overs: Six singles from Suchith's second over.

UPDATE FROM KERALA-HIMACHAL PRADESH MATCH - Opener Raghav Dhawan's 65 and a late onslaught by lower-order batter Rangi helps Himachal set Kerala a target of 146. Left-arm pacer Manu Krishnan bowled 14 dot balls in a spell of 3-0-4-1.

Saurashtra 43/2 after 8 overs: Leg-spinner Cariappa introduced from the other end. Keeps the Karnataka batters under pressure.

Saurashtra 37/2 after 7 overs: Karnataka captain Manish Pandey brings the spinner into the attack. Left-armer J Suchith gives nothing away. Just five off it.

Saurashtra 32/2 after 6 overs: Koushik almost dismissed Saurashtra's key batter Sheldon Jackson. Vasavada smashed one straight at Koushik for a tough caught-and-bowled chance. While the pacer couldn't hold on to it, he did manage to send it towards the stumps at the non-striker's end where Jackson made it inside the crease just in time.

Saurashtra 19/2 after 5 overs: Vyshak keeps the pressure on the Saurashtra batters. One over left in the powerplay.

Saurashtra 17/2 after 4 overs: This is excellent start by Karnataka bowlers. Vidyadhar gives just three from his second over.

Saurashtra 14/2 after 3 overs: OUT! Another one departs. Vishvaraj Jadeja looked to scoop the ball since the fine leg was inside the circle but couldn't execute it. Easy catch for Vidyadhar and first wicket for right-arm pacer Vijaykumar Vyshak. Vishvaraj Jadeja c Vidyadhar Patil b Vijaykumar Vyshak 3 (7)

Saurashtra 7/1 after 2 overs: Tight bowling by right-arm pacer Vidyadhar Patil. Just three from his first over.

Saurashtra 4/1 after 1 over: OUT! Perfect start for Karnataka. Barad tries to play across the line and only manages to get a top edge. However, Saurashtra almost makes a mess of it as Koushik collides with the fielder running in from midwicket but holds on to the ball. Barad c and b V Koushik 4 (5)

Match Underway. Saurashtra openers Arpit Vasavada and Himalaya Barad in the middle. Karnataka pacer V Kaushik with the ball.

Updates from Pre-Quarterfinal: Karnataka vs Saurashtra

TOSS: Saurashtra wins the toss, opts to bat

Karnataka XI: B R Sharath (W), V Vyshak, Karun Nair, Manish Pandey (C), K C Cariappa, Suchith J, Koushik V, Rohan Kadam, Aniruddha, Vidyadhar Patil, Abhinav Manohar

Saurashtra XI: A V Vasavada, Chirag Jani, D A Jadeja, Sheldon Jackson (W), Himalaya B,Prerak Mankad,Samarth Vyas, K D Patel, J Unadkat (C), Chetan Sakariya, Vishvarajsinh Jadeja

HP 12/1 in 5 overs:
A commendable start for Samson's boys here. Manu Krishnan and Vishweshar have restricted the batters early on in the PowerPlay. Manu's figures read 3-0-4-1 while Suresh has conceded just seven runs in two overs.

HP 2/1 in 1 over: Fine start for Kerala. Manu Krishnan strikes in his first over as Ankush Bains is trapped in front of the wicket on nought. Ankush Bains lbw Manu Krishnan 0 (2b)

Game on. Raghav Dhawan and Ankush Bains open for HP.  Manu Krishnan takes the new ball for Kerala.

TOSS: Kerala wins the toss, opts to field

Kerala Playing XI: Midhun S , M S Akhil,Sanju Samson (C), Jalaj Saxena, Basil Thampi,Manu Krishnan, Sachin Baby, Vishnu Vinod, Mohammed Azharuddeen (W), Rohan S Kunnummal, Vishweshar A Suresh

Himachal Pradesh Playing XI: Prashant Chopra, Ankush Bains(w), Akash Vasisht, Raghav Dhawan, Nikhil Gangta, Rishi Dhawan(c), Digvijay Rangi, Pankaj Jaiswal, Ayush Jamwal, Mayank Dagar, Vaibhav Arora

Brief Score: Maharashtra 157/8 in 20 overs  (Tripathi 66, Nahar 29, Yash Thakur 3/17) lost to Vidarbha 160/3 in 17.5 overs (Wadkar 58*, Taide 56, Choudhary 1/24) by seven wickets

Vidarbha 160/3 after 18 overs: Vidarbha wins by seven wickets -
Jitesh Sharma thrashes Sunil Yadav for a four and then hits three consecutive sixes to finish things off. Vidarbha will face Rajasthan in the quarterfinals.

Vidarbha 137/3 after 17 overs: Satyajeet Bachhav finishes his quota after conceding just 20 runs but no wickets. Vidarbha needs 21 off 18 with seven wickets in hand.

Vidarbha 132/3 after 16 overs: OUT! Shubham Dubey's cameo ends as Palkar gets him caught at long-on. Wadkar is unbeaten at 54 off 42 deliveries and has been joined by right-handed batter Jitesh Sharma who smashes his first ball for four. Shubham Dubey c Naushad Shaikh b Ashay Palkar 18 (12)

Vidarbha 117/2 after 15 overs: Choudhary back for his second spell and concedes jut six. Vidarbha needs 40 off 30. A wicket or two here and Maharashtra can count itself back in the game.

Vidarbha 111/2 after 14 overs: Nine off Kazi's final over as he ends with 4-0-29-1. Crucially for Vidarbha, it still has a set batter in Wadkar on the crease.

Vidarbha 102/2 after 13 overs: Just six off Bachhav's third over.

Vidarbha 96/2 after 12 overs: OUT! Kazi gets the important wicket of Taide. Excellent catch on long-off by Ranjeet Nikam who managed to maintain the body balance near the boundary rope.  Atharva Taide c Ranjeet Nikam b Azim Kazi 56 (38b, 6x4, 1x6)

Vidarbha 90/1 after 11 overs: Another effective over from Bachhav as he gave just three runs. However, Maharashtra needs to pick wickets to make a comeback in this match.

Vidarbha 87/1 after 10 overs: Taide and Wadkar keeping the scoreboard ticking. Wadkar welcomed left-arm pacer Divyang Himganekar by stepping out to hit a four over mid-off and finished the over with a cut behind backward point. The running between the wickets has been the most impressive aspect of this partnership.

Vidarbha 75/1 after 9 overs: FIFTY! Atharva Taide completes his half-century in 30 balls. 

Vidarbha 64/1 after 8 overs: Six singles from Kazi's second over. A good little spell from Maharashtra's spinners. No boundary for Vidarbha in the last 16 balls but the strike rotation by Taide and Wadkar has kept the required run-rate in check.

Vidarbha 58/1 after 7 overs: Sunil Yadav, right-arm leg spinner, concedes eight off his first over.

Vidarbha 50/1 after 6 overs: An economical over from left-arm spinner Azim Kazi to finish the powerplay. At this stage, Maharashtra was 57/1.

Vidarbha 42/1 after 5 overs: A boundary, three singles and a double from Ashay Palkar's second over. Taide and Wadkar rotating the strike effectively.

Vidarbha 33/1 after 4 overs: Left-arm spinner Satyajeet Bachhav brought into the attack to stop the flow of runs and he did exactly that. Vidarbha would not have minded a six-run over after what it got from the last one though.

Vidarbha 27/1 after 3 overs: Three fours and a six from Choudhary's second over. First was his own fault as he bowled one on Taide's pads who glanced it. The second one should have been cut off by third-man. Third was a beautiful drive just wide of mid-off and the six was hit incredibly over deep mid-wicket. 18 off it.

Vidarbha 9/1 after 2 overs: Identical boundaries from Taide and Wadkar. Both smashed the ball straight back past right-arm pacer Ashay Palkar.

Vidarbha 0/1 after 1 over: OUT! Perfect start for Maharashtra as left-arm pacer Mukesh Choudhary bowled a gem of a delivery to clip the top of Wath's off stump. A wicket-maiden to begin the proceedings. Siddhesh Wath b Mukesh Choudhary 0 (3)

The chase is underway!  Siddhesh Wath and Atharva Taide in the middle. Mukesh Choudhary opens the attack for Maharashtra.

Brief Score: Maharashtra 157/8 - Tripathi 66, Nahar 29, Yash Thakur 3/17

Fall of wickets: 13-1 (Naushad Shaikh, 1.4), 77-2 (Yash Nahar, 8.1), 91-3 (Kedar Jadhav, 10.3), 121-4 (Rahul Tripathi, 15.1), 133-5 (Ranjeet Nikam, 17.2), 138-6 (Divyang Himganekar, 17.5), 140-7 (Azim Kazi, 18.2), 157-8 (Sunil Yadav, 20)

Maharashtra 157/8 after 20 overs: OUT! Sunil Yadav tried to steal a second run on the final ball but fell way short. Excellent spell from Yash Thakur (4-0-17-3). At the halfway stage, Maharashtra must have surely thought of scoring near 170-175 but Vidarbha bowlers pulled things back and a target of 158 definitely seems like it can be chase. Stay tuned for second innings. Sunil Yadav run out (Atharva Taide/Akshay Wadkar) 7 (8)

Maharashtra 150/7 after 19 overs: End of a disappointing day for Darshan Nalkande. He got Azim Kazi caught on the second ball but two edged boundaries at the end left him with final figures of 4-0-45-1. Azim Kazi c Wakhare b Darshan Nalkande 15 (19)

Maharashtra 139/6 after 18 overs: Double-wicket over from Thakur! The right-arm pacer first bowled a short ball and Nikam's mistimed pull shot could only find the fielder at deep-midwicket. On the last delivery, a brilliantly executed yorker hit Divyang Himganekar's stump for a first-ball duck. Ranjeet Nikam c Jitesh Sharma b Yash Thakur 8 (9), Divyang Himganekar b Yash Thakur 0 (1)

Maharashtra 132/4 after 17 overs: Vidarbha has tightened the screws on this Maharashtra innings at the right time. Lalit Yadav finishes his spell.

Maharashtra 128/4 after 16 overs: OUT! A crucial wicket for Vidarbha as Wakhare manages to get the set Rahul Tripathi caught by Jitesh Sharma at deep mid-wicket. Rahul Tripathi c Jitesh Sharma b Wakhare 66 (45b, 5x4, 3x6)

Maharashtra 121/3 after 15 overs: Nalkande's day going from bad to worse. Another expensive over from the right-arm pacer. Tripathi 66* (44) and Azim Kazi 10* (12) at the crease with five overs left in the innings.

Maharashtra 110/3 after 14 overs: A short ball from Karnewar to start the over and Tripathi dispatched it for six over backward square leg. Karnewar finished his quota with the figures of 4-0-25-2.

Maharashtra 101/3 after 13 overs: Lalit Yadav started his second spell with a couple of play-and-misses from the Maharashtra batters. Just three off it in the end.

Maharashtra 98/3 after 12 overs: FIFTY! Rahul Tripathi completes his half century from 33 balls.

Maharashtra 92/3 after 11 overs: OUT! A successful over for Vidarbha as Jadhav missed the arm ball and Karnewar bowled him to get his second wicket. Excellent spell from him so far. Kedar Jadhav b Karnewar 6 (8)

Maharashtra 90/2 after 10 overs: Missed chance! A stumping opportunity was there for Wadkar on the fifth ball as Wakhare bowled one down the leg side but he couldn't collect it. With Tripathi set and an experienced Jadhav along side him at the halfway stage, Maharashtra can increase the run rate from here to post a decent total.

Maharashtra 81/2 after 9 overs: OUT! Stepping out again, Nahar tried to hit the ball over long-off's head but couldn't manage to do so. Timely wicket for Akshay Karnewar and Vidarbha. Yash Nahar c Lalit Yadav b Karnewar 29 (25)

Maharashtra 77/1 after 8 overs: Yash Nahar joining the party. A flighted second ball from off-spinner Akshay Wakhare and Nahar stepped out to send the ball sailing over long-on for a six.

Maharashtra 67/1 after 7 overs: Rahul Tripathi is absolutely dominating the bowlers. Vidarbha also needs to keep the extras in check as it has already bowled five wides.

Maharashtra 57/1 after 6 overs: Darshan Nalkande's wayward bowling has helped Maharashtra end the powerplay on a great note. Tripathi already on 31 off 16 with good support from Nahar from the other end.

Maharashtra 42/1 after 5 overs: Big chance for Vidarbha! Tripathi, who looks in good touch today, skied one towards deep square leg but the catch was grassed as the fielder over ran and could not hold the right position in the end. Three boundaries in the over for Tripathi to welcome right-arm speedster Lalit Yadav.

Maharashtra 28/1 after 4 overs: An economical second over from Thakur. Just five runs from it.

Maharashtra 23/1 after 3 overs: Rahul Tripathi came in to bat after the loss of Shaikh and attacked left-arm spinner Akshay Karnewar straight away featuring a cracking six over deep square leg.

Maharashtra 13/1 after 2 overs: Early wicket for Vidarbha. Yash Thakur bowled a full length delivery and the initial moisture from the surface helped the ball to move quickly and Shaikh was plumb in front. Maharashtra skipper Shaikh dismissed for a golden duck. Naushad Shaikh LBW b YR Thakur 0

Maharashtra 9/0 after 1 over: Steady start for Maharashtra as Nalkande struggled to control his line towards the end of the over.

Match Underway. Maharashtra captain Naushad Shaikh and Yash Nahar in the middle. Vidarbha pacer Darshan Nalkande with the ball.

Playing XIs

Maharashtra - A Palkar, Y J Nahar, K M Jadhav, R A Tripathi, A N Kazi, N S Shaikh (C) (W), S S Bachhav, S Yadav, R R Nikam, D M Hinganekar, M G Choudhary

Vidarbha - A A Wakhare, A V Wankhade, J M Sharma, A V Wadkar (C) (W), A K Karnewar, Lalit Yadav, S  K Wath, Atharva Taide,  D G Nalkande, Y R Thakur, S B Dubey

TOSS - Vidarbha has won the toss and chosen to field first

Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy 2021-22 Today's Matches

8:30 a.m.-
Maharashtra vs Vidarbha, Pre Quarterfinal 1, Arun Jaitley Stadium, New Delhi

12 p.m.- Himachal Pradesh vs Kerala, Pre Quarterfinal 3, Airforce Complex ground, Palam, New Delhi

1 p.m.- Karnataka vs Saurashtra, Pre Quarterfinal 2, Arun Jaitley Stadium, New Delhi


Two-time champion Karnataka is expected to assert its superiority over the reigning Ranji Trophy champion Saurashtra for a place in the quarterfinals of the Syed Mushtaq Ali (T20) Trophy at the Arun Jaitley Stadium on Tuesday afternoon.

The other two quarterfinal spots will be decided after Kerala takes on underdog Himachal Pradesh at the Air Force ground and a confident Maharashtra plays an almost untested Vidarbha in the morning at the Kotla.

Under skipper Manish Pandey, Karnataka has the resources to go all the way despite the late replacements for Mayank Agarwal, Devdutt Padikkal, Prasidh Krishna and K. Gowtham.

READ: Axar Patel: Fearlessness makes India a resilient team

For the record, Karnataka started out by drubbing Mumbai and followed it up with victories over Chattisgarh, Services and Baroda before losing to Bengal and finishing second best in Group B.

Karnataka’s batting could well be tested by the pace duo of Jaydev Unadkat and Chetan Sakariya on a placid Kotla pitch in a match that begins at noon. Saurashtra impressed with the way it bounced back after losing its campaign-opener to Hyderabad in Group E. Triumphs over Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Chandigarh kept alive its chances before it went on to upstage Delhi.

Saurashtra’s line-up has Sheldon Jackson whose flamboyant style and range of strokes had kept him in the mix before the National selectors. Overall, Saurashtra will have to punch way above its weight to hurt Karnataka.

READ: Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy 2021-22: Knockout matches full schedule, teams, date, timings, venues

An unpredictable Kerala, which relies heavily on opener Robin Uthappa, skipper Sanju Samson and Sachin Baby to get the job done, will have the advantage of having played at the Air Force ground in the league.

Kerala showed great character in bouncing back from a spot of serious bother. It lost two of its first three matches to Group D topper Gujarat and unexpectedly to Railways. Victories over Bihar and Assam kept Kerala in contention and it qualified following a second eight-wicket victory in successive days to knock out Madhya Pradesh.

READ: Shastri joins upcoming Legends League as Commissioner

Himachal, too, advanced to the knockout despite losing twice - to Haryana and Rajasthan - in the first three matches. But victory against Jharkhand, and those against Jammu & Kashmir and Andhra in the last two matches ensured Himachal’s survival.

Runner-up in 2018-19 season, Maharashtra had up for the false start. After losing the opener narrowly to Group A topper Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra made it way past Punjab, Odisha, Pondicherry and Goa.

For Plate group topper Vidarbha, Maharashtra will be its first serious test. Vidarbha understands those resounding victories over Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Manipur and Sikkim do not count for  much. 

- Rakesh Rao

Where to watch SMAT 2021-22 knockouts live?

Maharashtra-Vidarbha and Karnataka-Saurashtra pre-quarterfinals will be shown on Star Sports 1, SS 1 HD.