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Karnataka held their nerve as they edged out Tamil Nadu in the last-over thriller and successfully defended the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy at the Lalbhai Contractor Stadium in Surat on Sunday.
Tamil Nadu, who won the toss and elected to bowl, retained the same playing XI while Jagadeesha Suchith replaced injured Abhimanyu Mithun, who had taken a hat-trick in the semi-final against Haryana, in Karnataka’s playing XI.
R Ashwin, who started the proceedings for Tamil Nadu, was hit for four on the first ball as KL Rahul got Karnataka off the mark. Tamil Nadu though still managed to keep things tight, conceding not more than 22 runs after three overs.
Just when it looked like Devdutt Padikkal and Rahul started to up the ante, hitting a six each on the last ball of the fourth over and first ball of the fifth over, Ashwin struck on successive deliveries to pick up the wickets of Rahul and Mayank Agarwal.
While Padikkal and skipper Manish Pandey added 48 runs together, Washington Sundar broke the partnership as he dismissed the left-hander in the 10th over for 32.
Pandey and Rohan Kadam though denied Tamil Nadu any immediate success. The pair out up a 65-run partnership and pushed Karnataka past 150 before Murugan Ashwin got the wicket of Kadam after the left-hander had scored 35 off 28 balls.
Pandey, meanwhile, led from the front, hitting a counter-attacking 60 not out from 45 balls, with the help of 4 fours and 2 sixes as Karnataka posted 180 runs on the board for the loss of five wickets.
Needing 181 runs to win, Tamil Nadu lost their openers - C Hari Nishaanth and Shahrukh Khan - in the powerplay as Ronit More and Shreyas Gopal scalped a wicket each.
Skipper Dinesh Karthik and Washington Sundar tried to steady the ship, adding 39 runs together. But the two got out in the space of four runs as Tamil Nadu were reduced to 80/4 after the end of ten overs.
While Karthik, who was dropped on 12 by Kadam near the boundary rope, could only add eight more runs to his account and was stumped off Suchith’s bowling in the ninth over, Krishnappa Gowtham disturbed the timber to end Washington Sundar’s innings.
Vijay Shankar and Baba Aparajith then led Tamil Nadu’s fightback as the two put up a 71-run partnership in 43 balls before More dismissed Aparajith for 40 on the first ball of the 18th over.
But Gowtham kept his cool and with Pandey running out Vijay Shankar on the penultimate ball, Tamil Nadu needed 3 runs off the last ball to win the final. However, Tamil Nadu could only score a single on the final as Karnataka secured a one-run win to become only the third team to win the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy twice.
Brief Scores: Karnataka 180/5 (Manish Pandey 60*, Rohan Kadam 35; Murugan Ashwin 2/33, R Ashwin 2/34) beat Tamil Nadu 179/6 (Vijay Shankar 44, Baba Aparajith 40; Ronit More 2/32, Krishnappa Gowtham 1/31) by one run