The K.S. Subbaiah Pillai Trophy is poised for a grandstand finish, with a marquee clash between two in-form teams here on Wednesday.
Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, both with 14 points, will face each other in a virtual final. Though the two have already qualified for the national round, the winner of Wednesday’s match will gain the bragging rights which comes from being the South Zone champion.
More at stake
There is more at stake for the host. Having already won the Ranji Trophy and the Irani Cup, a win here will be another welcome high.
Neither side has lost a match yet and both camps exuded confidence. Karnataka coach J. Arunkumar symbolised this when he talked about operating on “auto-pilot.”
“Things are falling into place; my role is to keep the squad in high spirits. We are on auto-pilot mode now, and there is no reason to change,” he said.
The mood in the opposing camp is no different. Tamil Nadu skipper S. Badrinath appeared relaxed after an assured batting session at nets. “We have momentum on our side. All our guys have played great cricket in this tournament,” he said.
The middle-order batsman also threw a sense of history into the mix.
“A Tamil Nadu versus Karnataka match is something all of us look forward to.
“Over the years, there has always been a good rivalry between us. As for this match, it will be between two equals,” he said.
Two other fixtures will also be played on Wednesday, though they hold much less significance. Goa (zero points) takes on Hyderabad (six), while Andhra Pradesh (eight) faces Kerala (six).
Since none of them can advance to the all-India Vijay Hazare Trophy, the best result that can emerge from here is a face-saving third-place finish.
All eyes will be fixed on the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium. Can Karnataka extend its dream run or will Tamil Nadu bring some glow to its otherwise lacklustre season?