Syed Mushtaq Ali T20: Karnataka retains title after edging TN by one run

Karnataka off-spinner Krishnappa Gowtham defended 12 runs in the final over to help retain the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, beating Tamil Nadu in the final.

Karnataka players and coaching staff with the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy after edging Tamil Nadu by one run.   -  VIJAY SONEJI

Just like the IPL final between Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings earlier in the year, a team in blue prevailed over a team in yellow in the final by one run, as Karnataka defeated Tamil Nadu to defend its Syed Mushtaq Ali crown in a nail-biting finish at the Lalbhai Contractor Stadium in Surat on Sunday.

This is Karnataka’s second title this season after beating TN in the final of the Vijay Hazare trophy as well in October.

Chasing 181 and needing 13 off the last over, R. Ashwin hit K. Gowtham for two boundaries off the first two balls but the off-spinner came back strongly and conceded only three runs off the last four deliveries.

Vijay Shankar was run out off the fifth ball of the over going for the second run and M. Ashwin failed to connect the last ball of the match with TN needing three to win the title.

MATCH BLOG

From 80/4 in the 10th over, Vijay Shankar (44, 27b, 5x4) and B. Aparajith (40, 25b, 1x4, 3x6) produced a brilliant 71-run stand for the fifth wicket in just 7.1 overs and got TN close to the target before Aparajith holed out at long-on at the start of the 18th over.

TN openers yet again failed to provide the kind of blazing start needed before Washington Sundar and Dinesh Karthik steadied things with a 39-run stand. However, two quick wickets by J. Suchith and Gowtham put TN on the backfoot.

Earlier, after being asked to bat first, skipper Manish Pandey led from the front with an unbeaten 60 (45b, 4x4, 2x6) to help Karantaka post a par score of 180/5.

TN opened the bowling with its trump card off-spinner R Ashwin to take on the Karnataka openers K. L. Rahul and Devdutt Padikkal. The openers looked watchful and took calculated risks with Rahul hitting Ashwin for a couple off boundaries while Padikkal started with flicked left-arm pacer Natarajan for a six over square leg.

In the fifth over, Rahul stepped down and hit Ashwin over long-on for a six and tried the same thing the very next ball only for Ashwin to outsmart him by pulling back the length slightly to have the India opener caught at the same position. The wily off-spinner then had Mayank Agarwal caught and bowled off the very next ball.

Pandey and Rohan Kadam then ensured the team did not lose way in the middle overs and came together for a 65-run partnership for the fourth wicket.

Pandey started with a six and four of leg-spinner M Ashwin over long-on but had a moment of fortune in the same over when he ran off a misfield and could have been run out had Washington’s throw was bit more powerful and on target at the bowler’s end.

Karnataka got a move on in the 15th over when Kadam and Pandey hit Siddharth for 17 runs before Kadam smashed Vijay Shankar for three boundaries in the next over. Despite TN doing well to pull back things in the last four overs giving away only 34 runs, it was just about enough for Karanataka to defend its title.