It will be Karnataka’s batting vs Tamil Nadu’s bowling in the Syed Mushtaq Ali tournament

Seasoned campaigner: Tamil Nadu will look up to its skipper Dinesh Karthik to deliver in the summit clash.

Seasoned campaigner: Tamil Nadu will look up to its skipper Dinesh Karthik to deliver in the summit clash.  


The former has the advantage, having prevailed over the latter twice recently

For the second time in two months, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka will face off in a final, this time for honours in the shortest format — the Syed Mushtaq Ali tournament — at the Lalbhai Contractor Stadium on Sunday.

Karnataka, the defending champion, holds a huge edge going into the final after beating TN, both in the Super League match last week and in the final of the Vijay Hazare Trophy one-day tournament last month.

Different brands

The teams are coming into the final in good form, having lost only two games in this tournament, but play an entirely different brand of cricket to each other.

Karnataka is powered by its batting, with opener Devdutt Padikkal topping the run-scoring charts (548 runs in 11 matches, at an extraordinary strike rate of 178), followed by the likes of K.L. Rahul and Manish Pandey.

TN, on the other hand, has depended on its spinners to do the job with R. Sai Kishore leading with 20 wickets. M. Siddharth, who has played only four games, has been impressive with 12 scalps.

These traits showed in their respective semifinal victories with Karnataka chasing down 195 in just 15 overs with Padikkal and Rahul thrashing Haryana bowlers, including those with international experience like Yuzvendra Chahal, Amit Mishra and Jayant Yadav.

In the second semifinal, TN restricted Rajasthan to just 112 even though the spinners were helped by medium-pacers Vijay Shankar and Natarajan who picked three wickets between them.

So come Sunday, both teams will back their strengths and TN coach D. Vasu said it could well be a battle between his bowlers and Karnataka’s batsmen.

“We are going to play to our strengths which is our bowling and spinners. Yes, we lost to them twice in recent times but in this format, it depends on what happens on that day and how we execute our plans,” said Vasu.

While their strengths have gotten them here without much trouble, both teams have some weaknesses as well.

Respective chinks

For Karnataka, the middle-order hasn’t been tested and the pacers have gone for runs, while for TN, opening continues to remain unsettled, with Ashwin on Friday becoming the fourth opener tried during the last one week.

Having already lost to Karnataka twice this season, TN would want to get one back and share the honours in white-ball cricket before the two sides meet yet again in a week to kickstart the Ranji Trophy in Dindigul on December 9.

Match starts at 7 p.m.

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Printable version | Dec 9, 2019 11:25:47 PM |

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