Recently, in the final of the Vijay Hazare Trophy, the two south Indian states, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, have played. Again on Sunday (December 1), both the teams are going to meet in the final of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy.
Once again, it’s the Karnataka team who is the favorite to defend the title. They have won by defeating Tamil Nadu in the Super League stage of the tournament recently too, and they have a clear edge.
Karnataka vs Tamilnadu
The game is likely to be a clash between Karnataka’s in-form batting and Tamil Nadu’s bowling. The way both sides have won their respective semi-finals show their strengths. Karnataka has chased down 195 against Haryana in just 15 overs, showcasing their batting skills. Tamil Nadu restricted Rajasthan to just 112 for 9 for a win set up by the bowlers.
Devdutt Padikkal and KL Rahul are the openers who have put Karnataka in a great position. Devdutt Padikkal has impressed one and all this domestic season. He was the high scorer in the Vijay Hazare Trophy and is leading the charts in the Syed Mushtaq Ali trophy too. He has scored 548 runs from 11 innings at a strike rate of 178.5. Devdutt’s 42-ball 87 and Rahul’s 31-ball 66 in the semifinal will keep Karnataka confident, going into the title clash.
Karnataka’s batting beyond the openers is strong too, for they have Manish Pandey, Mayank Agarwal, and Karun Nair despite lower-order hitter in K Gowtham. The middle order of Karnataka has not been tested as many thanks to the openers’ form. It is possibly an opportunity for Tamil Nadu.
Shreyas Gopal has taken the lead of Karnataka’s bowling. He has 18 wickets from 11 games. Abhimanyu Mithun, who has picked five wickets in an over in the semifinal, will once again look to do the job leading the pace unit.
Tamil Nadu will depend on spinners to get them deep into the Karnataka order. Bowlers of Tamil Nadu have enjoyed bowling on spin-friendly wickets in Surat, with Sai Kishore leading the wickets tally (20 wickets at an economy of 4.63). His fellow left-arm spinner M Siddharth came into the team only at the Super League stage by replacing the injured M Vijay and has grabbed his opportunity by picking up 12 wickets from just four games.
Washington Sundar has been in good form too, both with ball and bat. TN’s spin attack seems invincible with R Ashwin joining them for the semi-final. They have got M Ashwin too, making it a four-spinners’ attack. Medium pacers T Natarajan and Vijay Shankar have provided good support to the spinners when needed.
Batting of Tamil Nadu’s lacks depth in comparison. Washington has been in fine form, as has been captain Dinesh Karthik. Shahrukh Khan and Hari Nishant have played the odd good knocks, while Vijay Shankar has provided finishes.
Tamil Nadu sprung a surprise by opening with R Ashwin with the bat in the semi-finals against Rajasthan. Ashwin struggled for momentum in a 33-ball 31, and it remains to be seen if TN sticks with the same approach.
The pitch at the Lalabhai Contractor Stadium in Surat is expected to be batsman-friendly, which could set up a cracking finale to an entertaining tournament.