SYED MUSHTAQ ALI TROPHY 2019
Cricbuzz Staff •
Agarwal carried his bat and ensured that his side got past the finishing line © Getty
Karnataka registered their 14th straight win in T20 cricket to clinch the 2018-19 Syed Mushtaq Ali trophy in style on Thursday in Indore. Already unbeaten in the tournament, Karnataka put on a clinical display with both bat and ball to topple Maharashtra by 8 wickets as they reached the target with nine balls to spare and won the title for the first time in their history.
Chasing 156, Karnataka looked at ease right from the start despite losing wicketkeeper-batsman BR Sharath for just 2 in the third over. Rohan Kadam, the leading run-getter in the tournament and Mayank Agarwal showed no sign of pressure with runs coming thick and fast.
Maharashtra would rue the dropped chance of Agarwal, who, in the end, made them pay by remaining unbeaten on 85 to steer his side home. Batting on 5, Agarwal miscued one but the fielder at cover made a mess of it to give the right-hander a lifeline. Following the drop, Agarwal smashed a six and a four to redeem himself. By the end of the powerplay, Karnataka had already gone past 50 with Kadam looking in ominous touch.
The pair remained aggressive especially against the spinners , with Kadam reaching his half-century at the halfway mark. Divyang Himganekar finally provided his side the breakthrough by deceiving Kadam with a slower ball. However, by then, the 92-run stand had done the damage.
Karnataka needed just 50 more runs off 47 balls at that stage. While Karun Nair was content with remaining at the crease, Agarwal shifted gears after Kadam’s dismissal and kept finding the boundary to polish off the chase.
Earlier in the evening, experienced campaigners Vinay Kumar and Abhimanyu Mithun kept the scoring in check in the powerplay overs as Maharashtra made only 41 in the first six overs, losing Ruturaj Gaikwad in the process. While Rahul Tripathi struck three fours to get the innings underway after the first two quiet overs, Gaikwad fell while attempting to swat Mithun for a boundary having already fetched one off the previous ball. But this time around, the ball went straight to the point fielder.
Jagadeesha Suchith then made an instant impact after being introduced into the bowling attack as Vijay Zol was stumped for just 8. Maharashtra were then handed a massive blow at the halfway mark when KC Cariappa got the big fish Tripathi caught at wide long on.
Naushad Shaikh and Ankit Bawne then had a major rebuilding job ahead of them which they pulled off to good effect. The duo added 81 for the fourth wicket off 51 balls. While Bawne was sedate in his approach, Shaikh was the aggressor in the partnership. Mithun came back into the attack at the death to get rid of Bawne with a short ball but Shaikh continued his assault to remain unbeaten on 69, an effort that eventually went in vain.
Brief scores: Maharashtra 155/4 in 20 overs (Naushad Shaikh 69*, Rahul Tripathi 30; Abhimanyu Mithun 2-24) lost to Karnataka 159/2 (Mayank Agarwal 85*, Rohan Kadam 60; Divyang Himganekar 1-21) by 8 wickets