Cricket

Syed Mustaq Ali cricket tournament | TN, Karnataka favourites in semifinals

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Rajasthan will bank on its speedsters; Spin trio is Haryana’s strength

After close to three weeks of league-style competition spread over two stages, the business end of Syed Mushtaq Ali is on with semifinals to be played at the Lalbhai Contractor Stadium here on Friday.

The stakes are high and big reinforcements in the form of Mayank Agarwal for Karnataka and R. Ashwin for Tamil Nadu have arrived with the duo wasting no time in hitting the nets within hours of reaching.

The Dinesh Karthik-led Tamil Nadu takes on Rajasthan and would want to continue its good run in white-ball cricket, having topped its group in both the league stages.

The team will start as the favourite but with the match starting at 6.30 p.m., the toss will become a crucial factor as the side chasing is bound to have a clear advantage as dew could affect the team bowling second.

Spin-heavy attack

It is an area where Rajasthan can neutralise a spin-heavy TN attack and during its loss to Karnataka last week, the TN bowlers found it difficult to hold the ball while defending.

On Thursday, TN went the extra mile in its preparation by shunning nets and instead opting to use the centre wicket at the C.B. Patel Stadium. Spinners R. Sai Kishore and Hari Nishanth practised with wet balls while the batsmen tried some big-hitting, targeting specific areas.

For Rajasthan, skipper Deepak Chahar, along with fast bowlers Khaleel Ahmed and Aniket Choudhary, needs to take advantage of TN’s opening woes and get quick wickets before leg-spinner Rahul Chahar can apply the squeeze in the middle overs.

Identical path

In the other semifinal, Karnataka takes on Haryana and both teams have had an identical path to the semifinals with a loss each in the league and Super League stage.

Karnataka, which won the Vijay Hazare Trophy, has the edge with its explosive batting line-up in the form of openers Devdutt Padikkal and K.L. Rahul who have given big starts in most matches, followed by the likes of Mayank, skipper Manish Pandey and Karun Nair.

The middle order has not been tested but Mayank’s presence should address that. K. Gowtham’s return in the last match against Mumbai was a welcome sign as the off-spinner can open the attack as cover-up for the pacers who have leaked runs.

Haryana will rely upon the spin trio of Yuzvendra Chahal, Amit Mishra and Jayant Yadav to set the game up, while the batting will largely depend on Shivam Chauhan.

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Printable version | Dec 9, 2019 11:31:43 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/cricket/syed-mustaq-ali-cricket-tournament-tn-karnataka-favourites-in-semifinals/article30109161.ece

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