Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy: Tamil Nadu Keeps Ahead Over Rajasthan; Punjab Favorite vs Baroda

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Shahrukh Khan’s raw power will be offset by experience and deceit from the Chahar brothers Deepak and Rahul, when a formidable Tamil Nadu locks horns with spirited Rajasthan in the semi-finals of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy on Friday. With the IPL auction on Feb. 18, players from both sides wouldn’t want to miss the opportunity to impress the talent scouts of various IPL teams, as Shahrukh did against Himachal Pradesh in Tamil Nadu’s quarter-final victory.

Rajasthan, on the other hand, was a firm side with a host of young T20 specialists such as Mahipal Lomror (170 runs with 165 plus success rate) in batting and Chahar, along with the latest IPL discovery Ravi Bishnoi and left-wing weapons Khaleel Ahmed and Aniket Chaudhary in the bowling department.

Rajasthan’s top scorer in the tournament is Ankit Lamba (198 runs), but he would like to improve his success rate.

Rajasthan, however, will depend on their best leg spinner Rahul Chahar (11 wickets) who has been named as stand-by for the English series.

Likewise for Tamil Nadu, their first points scorer N Jagadeesan (322 points) would feel that he might have done enough to ensure Mahendra Singh Dhoni gives him regular opportunities for CSK in the upcoming IPL.

Skipper Dinesh Karthik, who is by far definitely Tamil Nadu’s best T20 player, has had a quiet season by his standards, but is known for shooting big days.

Even the other batsmen like C Hari Nishanth, the ever-reliable Baba Aparajith and KB Arun Karthik will be more than excited to make an impact on a quality Rajasthan attack.

In the bowling department, leg spinner Murugan Ashwin and left arm spinner R Sai Kishore were quite a handful, but it was Baba Aparajith, who was the surprise package, took the new ball and enjoyed great success too.

The trio want to play their part perfectly and help pacemakers Mohammed Mohammed and Aswin Crist in the absence of Sandeep Warrier, who has been selected as a net bowler for the England Tests.

Punjab pacers Kaul and Sharma take on Vishnu Solanki: Punjab’s battle-hardened veterans like Siddarth Kaul and Sandeep Sharma will ask a few questions in the semi-finals for Baroda’s Vishnu Solanki, who has won many fans with a flawless performance of ‘ Helicopter Shot ‘. ‘during his team’s thrilling quarter-final victory against Haryana.

Kaul, Sandeep and Arshdeep Singh, along with leg spinner Mayank Markande, were excellent during the tournament with an economy rate of less than seven runs per over.

Baroda wish their pacemakers Lukman Meriwala and former India U-19 Atith Sheth would rattle the Punjab top order and their left arm spinners Bhargav Bhatt, Ninad Rathwa and off-spinner Kartik Kakade would also hold the key.

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But when it comes to their at bat, it’s all about skipper Kedar Devdhar and Solanki, who saved the team more than once in the tournament.

Lineup: Tamil Nadu vs Rajasthan – 12pm Punjab vs Baroda – 7pm.

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