Bengaluru/Surat, December 1: Two Karnataka cricketers – Manish Pandey and Krishnappa Gowtham – will be tying the knot this week in Mumbai and Bengaluru respectively.
And these two duo couldn’t get a better wedding gift – the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy in the cabinet! The second one after Vijay Hazare Trophy.
At a super-packed Lalbhai Contractor Stadium in Surat, spectators perched on whatever they could climb on – power poles, cars, vans, fence and didn’t even spare the Fire Engine – watched a thrilling, nail-biting title showdown where Karnataka clinched a narrow one-run triumph against Tamil Nadu to defend the trophy.
After more than three weeks of action-packed T20 fiesta which unearthed cricketers with T20 talent, Karnataka emerged triumphant in the so-called Southern Derby. The champions defended 180 as the neighbours only managed 179/6. Something Dinesh Karthik will rue for years.
Electing to bowl first, Tamil Nadu fielded one genuine pacer and as many tweakers possible in the playing XI to tackle the bullish Karnataka batting. It worked to an extent to keep the in-form KL Rahul (22), Devdutt Padikkal (32) and Mayank Agarwal (0) going berserk.
The onus swiftly shifted on skipper Manish (60 not out, 45b, 4×4, 2×6) and Rohan Kadam (35, 28b, 5×4) to stitch together a brilliant match-saving 65-run stand for the fourth wicket.
With his scheduled wedding on Monday (2nd December) to Ashritha Shetty, Manish confidently powered his side to a defendable total.
Both the Ashwin’s – Ravichandran and Murugan did the maximum damage picking up two wickets each while the rest leaked runs on a batting friendly surface.
For Tamil Nadu, slogging from the very beginning was the only way to get into the scoring rhythm. Their openers Shahrukh Khan and Hari Nishanth did exactly that before throwing away their wickets.
Washington Sundar scripted a quick 24 before Gowtham castle him with a wrong’un while Dinesh Karthik (20) got out cheaply.
The arrival of Baba Aparajith (40) and Vijay Shankar (44) left Karnataka sweating. Pandey mixed up his bowlers but all the efforts went in vain. The duo constructed a brilliant 71-run association for the sixth wicket to keep their side in the hunt.
With very little options and without spearhead Abhimanyu Mithun in the ranks, Manish had no choice but to introduce Ronit More for his fourth over. This move had Aparajith caught at long-on.
With 13 required off the last over, Ashwin tonked Goutham for two back-to-back boundaries.
TN needed four off two balls, the game-changing moment was Shankar’s run out. The all-rounder played an on-drive which had Manish marshaling the outfield. Given a bullet arm, Manish’s accurate throw to strikers’ end had Shankar inches short of his crease.
Following his departure, TN required three off one ball.
Rest is all history.