Mayank Agarwal and Rohan Kadam orchestrated a class act at the Holkar Stadium on Thursday and led Karnataka to its first Inter-State Twenty20 Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy win.
The win against Maharashtra in the final was its 12th straight in this year’s tournament.
With his side set a target of 156 on a well rolled batting pitch, Mayank (85 not out, 57b, 6 x 4s, 3 x 6s) took charge of the chase after the fall of opener Belur Sharath and forged a match-winning partnership of 92 off 59 balls with left hander Rohan Kadam (60, 39b, 6 x 4s, 3 x 6s) for the second wicket.
He provided a fitting finish to Karnataka’s dream run with a sixth boundary shot off left arm seamer Divyang Hinganekar.
After left arm seamer Samad Fallah celebrated the dismissal of Sharath by going down on his knees, Kadam made the most of a short and wide ball from the same bowler with a slashed six over point.
Karnataka did not look back once Mayank went after Bachaav, hitting him for two cover drive boundary shots and swinging a short ball over square leg for a six.
Mayank miscued an off-side shot while batting on 5, but the skier was beyond the reach of Vishal Gite running at deep cover.
After Kadam’s departure at 106, Karun Nair played the supporting role in Karnataka’s unbroken third wicket stand of 53 off 38 balls.
A regular across in the last three seasons across all formats, Naushad Shaikh grabbed the opportunity to steady the Maharashtra innings that had lost its way losing two wickets by the first ball of the eighth over.
Asked to bat, Maharashtra lost opener Ruturaj Gaikwad and did not find the ball racing to the fence often in the six-over powerplay.
Summoned to the middle after Karnataka wicketkeeper Sharath smartly flicked the bails to get rid of Zol stumped, Shaikh along with Maharashtra’s most accomplished batsman, Ankit Bawne counter- attacked left arm spinner Jagadeeshan Suchith in the 11th over.
This was the most productive over for Maharashtra, with Shaikh off-driving the left-arm spinner for a first boundary shot and then both Shaikh and Bawne finding the point fence rope three times. It was Suchith’s second over and the last.
The fourth wicket stand between Shaikh and Bawne put Maharashtra back on track and on a perfect batting track it appeared that Maharashtra would be able to post a stiff target.
But Abhimanyu Mithun’s excellent third and fourth overs, a little help from Vasuki Koushik and leg spinner K.C.Cariappa and Karanataka’s sharp fielding in the deep, checked Maharashtra’s run rate.
While Shaikh sustained his effort hitting eight boundaries and three sixes, the fall of Bawne in the last ball of the 18th over to Mithun did not give leeway for the West Zone side to take the field in the second session with any degree of confidence.