SMA Trophy: Karnataka edge Vidarbha by four runs to set up final clash with Tamil Nadu

Karnataka edged past Vidarbha by four runs in a thrilling second semi-final of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy at the Arun Jaitley Stadium here on Saturday. After half-centuries from Rohan Kadam (87 off 56 balls) and captain Manish Pandey (54 off 42 balls) propelled Karnataka to 176/7 in 20 overs, Vidarbha threatened to chase down the total but were unable to get 14 off the final over. Karnataka’s narrow win also means that they will meet Tamil Nadu in the final on Monday in what will be a re-match of the finale of the 2019 edition.

Inserted into batting first, Kadam and Pandey laid the platform for a big total with a 132-run opening stand. Kadam had a reprieve early on, dropped by the keeper and captain Akshay Wadkar in the opening over. After Kadam fell, Abhinav Manohar continued the run-making spree with a 13-ball 27 till the last two overs arrived. From looking set for a total beyond 180, Karnataka collapsed spectacularly.

Pacer Yash Thakur gave away only eight runs in the 19th over while taking out Karun Nair for just five. All-rounder Darshan Nalkande bagged four wickets in four deliveries, dismissing Aniruddha Joshi, wicketkeeper Sharath Bharat, J Suchith, and Abhinav Manohar to end with figures of 4/28, bringing Vidarbha back in the match.

Nalkande also became the second bowler after Rajasthan leg-spinner Ravi Bishnoi to take a hat-trick in the ongoing tournament and second Indian after former India and Karnataka pacer Abhimanyu Mithun to take four wickets in four balls.

In reply, Atharva Taide began with a bang, scoring a 16-ball 32 while his opening partner Ganesh Satish made a brisk 31 off 27 balls. A quick look at the Vidarbha batting order showed that all batters got starts but none of them were able to convert that promising start into a big knock.

Karnataka were also helped by their spinners, mainly KC Cariappa, bringing the team back in the match. With 42 needed off the last three overs, Karnataka conceded 13 and 15 runs from 18th and 19th overs but Vidyadhar Patil held his nerve in defending 14 runs off the final over, handing Karnataka a spot in the final.

Brief scores Karnataka 176/7 in 20 overs (Rohan Kadam 87, Manish Pandey 54; Darshan Nalkande 4/28, Lalit Yadav 2/36) beat Vidarbha 172/6 in 20 overs (Atharva Taide 32, Ganesh Satish 31; KC Cariappa 2/27, Karun Nair 1/10) by four runs.