Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy: Rajasthan bowlers blow away Tamil Nadu

The R. Ashwin-led Tamil Nadu side opened its Syed Mushtaq Ali campaign on a losing note as it lost to Rajasthan by 53 runs.

Deepak Chahar claimed three wickets and helped Rajasthan beat Tamil Nadu. (File Photo)   -  S. Subramanium

The match venue was adjacent to a busy highway where vehicles whistled past. And Tamil Nadu took the highway to nowhere on a sputtering vehicle with a spiritless performance.

There was no fight as the R. Ashwin-led side was blown away by Rajasthan in its first game of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Twenty20 tournament. A 53-run defeat is a massive margin in the T20 format.

After conceding 181 runs, Tamil Nadu was never in the hunt in the chase in a Group B match on Thursday at the C.B. Patel Stadium. The Rajasthan pace pack of Khaleel Ahmed, Deepak Chahar and Aniket Chowdhary tormented the inexperienced Tamil Nadu’s batting.

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And the spinners leggie Rahul Chahar and debutant Ravi Bishnoi delighted with the flight, turn and bounce.

“Ours is an young, inexperienced side. Rajasthan has a good attack. The air speed of the Rajasthan pacemen made the difference,” said Tamil Nadu captain Ashwin.

The Tamil Nadu bowling leaked runs towards the end. Rajasthan was 100 for four in 14.2 overs when Chetan Bist got out. But at the end of the innings, the side romped to 181 for the loss of four wickets.

“We conceded too many runs in the end overs,” said Ashwin.

All the runs that Rajasthan plundered in the last five overs with the powerful and expansive strokeplay of skipper Mahipal Lomror (78 not out, 52b, 6x4, 4x6) and Tajinder Singh (38 not out, 19b, 1x4, 4x6) took the game away from Tamil Nadu.

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That phase was the turning point as Tamil Nadu's decision to field first backfired.

On a surface that offered some movement and bounce, Tamil Nadu batting struggled against an incisive Rajasthan pace attack.

Deepak Chahar moved the ball, the wiry Khaleel Ahmed seamed and swung the sphere at a telling pace, and the lanky Aniket was on target.

Shahrukh Khan’s 23, opening the innings, remained the top score of the innings as the Rajasthan bowlers tore into the Tamil Nadu batting.

N. Jagadeesan was castled by a lovely off-spinner from Bishnoi. Then Bishnoi grabbed a terrific return catch to send back Washington Sundar.

Tamil Nadu continued to lose wickets. The big-hitting R. Vivek (17), a TNPL sensation, found life a lot harder against the extra pace of the Rajasthan bowlers.     

Khaleel, lively and compelling, closed out the innings.

The scores: Rajasthan 181 for four in 20 overs (Aditya Garhwal 30, Mahipal Lomror 78 not not, Chetan Bist 28, Tajinder Singh 38 not out, Murugan Ashwin two for 33) beats Tamil Nadu 128 all out in 19.5 overs (Shahrukh Khan 23, Deepak Chahar three for 30, Khaleel Ahmed three for 14, Ravi Bishnoi two for 20). Points: Rajasthan 4, Tamil Nadu 0