Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy 2021: A Blockbuster Finale

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India’s Domestic T20 tournament Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy ended with a tussle between the southern powerhouses – Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. Both the teams had won the title twice before, with Tamil Nadu defending their crown this time. Everybody expected a cracker of a game but the outcome was so much more.

Tamil Nadu won the match courtesy Shahrukh Khan‘s last over heroics. With 5 runs needed off the last ball, it looked that the match was far from Tamil Nadu’s reach. Yet Shahrukh pulled off a miracle – hit the last ball over deep square leg for a maximum, a shot he will remember for the rest of his life.

Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy: Tamil Nadu Vs Karnataka- Southern Derby

Tamil Nadu and Karnataka had a decent campaign in the group stages, as they both finished second in Elite Group A and B respectively. With match-winners in both the squads, picking a favorite before the finals was a daunting task. The final was played in the Arun Jaitley Stadium, New Delhi.

TN skipper Vijay Shankar won the toss and opted to field. The pitch had a bit of grass and was fairly batting friendly. Karnataka captain Manish Pandey opened the innings with Rohan Kadam. The top-order succumbed quickly to the top-notch bowling from the Tamil Nadu bowlers.

At one point in time, it looked like Tamil Nadu would restrict the batters with 100-120 runs. However, Abhinav Manohar (46runs off 37 deliveries) and Praveen Dubey (33 runs off 25 deliveries) in retaliation formed a crucial partnership in the middle.

The Tamil Nadu spinners displayed their skills as Sai Kishore bowled an outstanding spell dismissing star batsman Manish Pandey and ended taking 3 wickets and gave just 12 runs in 4 overs.

With Jagadeesha Suchith‘s entertaining cameo of 18 runs off 7 balls, in the end Karnataka posted a total of 151 for the loss of 7 wickets. A target of 152 runs was quite achievable in the batting-friendly pitch of the Kotla but under the pressure of the finals, nothing looks easy.

Shahrukh Khan- Naam Toh Suna Hi Hoga

Tamil Nadu, in their chase, got off to a slow start. At the end of the powerplay, they were 44-1 with wicketkeeper batter Narayan Jagadeesan sensibly batting at one end. But the 16th over saw a twist in the tale.

Seasoned spinner KC Cariappa dismissed Jagadeesan and skipper Vijay Shankar on two consecutive deliveries. It gave Karnataka a golden chance to make a stunning comeback. Tamil Nadu needed 16 runs off the last over.

Shahrukh Khan was at the crease with 1st innings star Sai Kishore and the ball was given to Prateek Jain. With every ball bowled, the amount of tension in both camps doubled. And then we witnessed the rise of a hero – Shahrukh Khan, He came-He saw-He conquered.

He was rightly adjudged the ‘Player of the Match‘ for his class finishing act. His last ball six helped Tamil Nadu win the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy for a record 3rd time. It was perhaps the most disappointing result possible for Karnataka who lost the match at the very last moment.

A grand tournament ending with a scintillating cliff-hanger – SMAT 2021 was a treat for the fans. Shahrukh Khan and Delhi – old jodi with a new face, who knows this might be the beginning of another glorious chapter in Indian Cricket.

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