Tamil Nadu produced an impressive batting game after left arm spinner M Siddarth’s four-wicket haul as they bagged the coveted Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 trophy after beating Baroda by seven wickets in the final on Sunday. This was Tamil Nadu’s second Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy triumph, after winning their first title way back in 2006-07. Baroda, who had won the title twice in the past (in 2011-12 and 2013-14), this time finished in second place. Siddharth (4/20) spun his web around the Baroda batsmen to limit them to a meager 120 for 9, then Tamil Nadu overhauled the target in 18 overs, with opener C Hari Nishaanth top scoring with 35.
Seeking 121 for a win, Tamil Nadu opener Narayan Jagadeesan (14) lost early when pacemaker Lukman Meriwala (1/34) took the first wicket, with the opposition on 26/1.
But Nishaanth (35; 3×4; 1×6) kept playing his shots and was joined by Baba Aparajith (29 not out of 35 balls) when Tamil Nadu reached 61/1 after 10 overs.
However, medium-goer Babashafi Pathan removed Nishaanth in the 12th over, while running into the depths, to bring TN back to 67/2 and give Baroda a glimmer of hope.
Skipper Dinesh Karthik played his part to perfection with a 16-ball 22 but died when his side needed 20 runs on 23 balls.
Aparajith and Shahrukh Khan (18 not out of 7 balls; 2×4; 1×6) then took TN home. Shahrukh fittingly ended the game with a boundary.
Previously, Siddharth’s brilliant bowling upfront allowed TN to limit Baroda to 120 for 9 on a difficult track. It was largely due to the 58-run seventh wicket stand between Vishnu Solanki (49 of 55 balls; 1×4; 2×6) and Atit Sheth (29 of 30 balls; 2×4; 1×6) that Baroda was reduced to a three 36/6 after figure total.
Siddharth used the field to his advantage by varying the pace of his deliveries and also using the folding pit to create tricky corners for the batsmen.
Baroda lost left-handed opener Ninad Rathva (1) early in the battle on a Sardar Patel Stadium track that offered both twisting and bounce, as the move to start with spinners from both sides paid off for Tamil Nadu.
Rathva was captured by KB Arun Karthik on Baba Aparajith (1/16). Aparajith and left arm spinner R Sai Kishore (0/11) kept things tight as Baroda was 11/1 after three overs.
Skipper Kedar Devdhar (16), who had hammered three boundaries, failed to convert his starts and handed a sitter to Narayan Jagadeesan to cover when the wiry Siddharth picked up his first wicket.
Short scores: Baroda 120/9 (Vishnu Solanki 49, Atit Sheth 29; M Siddharth 4/20; M Mohammed 1/16) lost to Tamil Nadu 123/3 (C Hari Nishaanth 35, Baba Aparajith 29 not out; Atit Sheth 1 / 20, Babashafi Pathan 1/23) with 7 wickets.
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