Vijay Hazare final | A marquee clash between in-form teams

Just a game more: Karnataka’s Karun Nair, Manish Pandey and others appear relaxed at a training session on the eve of the Hazare Trophy final.

Just a game more: Karnataka’s Karun Nair, Manish Pandey and others appear relaxed at a training session on the eve of the Hazare Trophy final.  

A high-scoring contest likely as Karnataka, TN having strong batting line-ups

An exciting fare is on the cards as traditional rivals Karnataka and Tamil Nadu face each other in the Vijay Hazare Trophy final at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru on Friday.

That the two in-form sides are packed with quality players only adds to the buzz surrounding this marquee clash. Tamil Nadu, the sole unbeaten side in this tournament, boasts of stars like R. Ashwin, skipper Dinesh Karthik, Abhinav Mukund, M. Vijay and Vijay Shankar.

Big names

Karnataka is not short on big names either, with K.L. Rahul, Manish Pandey, Mayank Agarwal and Karun Nair on the roster.

With both units possessing strong batting line-ups, the summit clash may well turn out to be a high-scoring outing. A look at the numbers suggests that the host holds a slight edge in this department.

Karnataka opener Devdutt Padikkal (598 runs) is the highest run-scorer of the tournament, and his teammates K.L. Rahul and Manish Pandey figure in the top-five of the same list.

Mayank made his return to the State side from India duty for the semifinal fixture against Chhattisgarh, and showed his class with an electric unbeaten 33-ball 47.

Aparajith’s contribution

Tamil Nadu has banked on the solid middle-order presence of B. Aparajith (532 runs), who is fourth on the list of highest run-scorers. Experienced southpaw opener Abhinav Mukund is not far behind with 515 runs.

While Karnataka is boosted by the arrival of Mayank, the visitors are thrilled to have Ashwin back. The spinner’s tight eight overs helped his side keep Gujarat down to a manageable score in the semifinal.

Tamil Nadu coach D. Vasu stated that Ashwin brings a lot to the table. “Ashwin adds a lot to the team. His inputs — along with Vijay, Mukund and other seniors — contribute a lot to the juniors. That’s very heartening.

“The seniors are helping the juniors both on and off the field, which is very important,” said Vasu.

Turning over a new leaf

Vasu added that Tamil Nadu has “turned over a new leaf”, referring to the side’s failure to make the knockouts in the previous two editions.

On the Tamil Nadu-Karnataka rivalry, Vasu, himself a veteran of many a battle between the two teams, said, “We’ve always enjoyed our rivalry with Karnataka. It’s always been fun, and hard cricket.

“Neither team will ever give up on winning the game. I think it’s going to be the same. We have two very good teams playing each other, with many superb cricketers in the mix. It should be a good final.”

The inclement rains which have hit the city in recent weeks could pose a threat to the action. The top-class drainage system at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium, however, could save the day. Entry is free.

The teams (from):

Karnataka: Manish Pandey (Capt.), K.L. Rahul, Devdutt Padikkal, Karun Nair, Pravin Dubey, Rohan Kadam, Abhishek Reddy, K. Gowtham, J. Suchith, A. Mithun, Prateek Jain, Ronit More, B.R. Sharath, Shreyas Gopal and V. Koushik.

Tamil Nadu: Dinesh Karthik (Capt.), Vijay Shankar, Abhinav Mukund, N. Jagadeesan, B. Aparajith, R. Ashwin, Washington Sundar, C. Hari, M. Vijay, T. Natarajan, K. Vignesh, M. Mohammed, Abhishek Tanwar, J. Kousik, Sai Kishore, M. Ashwin and M. Siddharth.

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Printable version | May 26, 2020 4:20:19 PM |

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