Karnataka defended their Syed Mushtaq Ali title as they edged past Tamil Nadu by one run in a nail-biting domestic T20 final match at the Lalabhai Contractor Stadium in Surat on Sunday.
Credit goes to Karnataka skipper Manish Pandey for playing a sensational knock of 60 not out off just 45 balls before the bowlers fired in unison to help the side retain the crown. Pandey’s blitzkrieg included 4 boundaries and 2 sixes.
Batting first, Karnataka posted a healthy 180 for 5 in the allotted 20 overs before restricting Tamil Nadu to 179 for 6 in their 20 overs.
All-rounder Vijay Shankar top-scored for Tamil Nadu with 44 off 27 balls while Baba Aparajith made 40 off 25 deliveries.
Needing 13 runs from the last over, Ashwin struck two consecutive boundaries off Krsihnappa Gowtham to reduce the margin, but Shankar’s run out two balls later cost Tamil Nadu dearly.
Tamil Nadu needed three runs off the last ball but Murugan Ashwin could only manage one as Karnataka captured the title for the second time in a row.
In October, Karnataka had defeated Tamil Nadu to lift the 50-over Vijay Hazare Trophy for the fourth time.
“We won it last year but this year the victory was a lot sweeter. The way the boys played the entire tournament has been unbelievable. Everyone has put in so much effort that I thought it was a very good game. It came neck to neck but we deserved it,” said Pandey after defending the title.
Meanwhile, losing skipper Dinesh Karthik said: “When I look back after a few years I would feel that it would’ve been great had we won. Some of the boys have stood up, we have played great cricket and I think it my duty as a leader to be proud of this team.”