Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy: Vidarbha, Tamil Nadu enter semis


Defending champions Tamil Nadu and Vidarbha chased down totals in their respective matches to move into the semifinals of the 2021 Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. While Tamil Nadu’s batting clicked to hunt down a target of 182 with five wickets in hand against Kerala at the Arun Jaitley Stadium, Vidarbha rattled Rajasthan and then chased down 85 comfortably to secure a nine-wicket win at the Air Force Ground in Palam.

In the semifinals on November 20, Tamil Nadu will now meet Hyderabad while Vidarbha will face Karnataka.

In chasing 182, N Jagadeesan fell early. Hari Nishanth added 32 runs with Sai Sudharsan added 32 runs as Tamil Nadu reached 58 runs at the end of power-play. Post power-play, Nishanth fell for a 22-ball 32. But that didn’t deter Tamil Nadu as Sudharsan hit seven fours in his 31-ball 46 and was also involved in a 57-run stand with skipper Vijay Shankar (33 off 26 balls). After the duo fell, Sanjay Yadav made a handy 32 off 22 balls in company of Shahrukh Khan, who hit two sixes in his unbeaten 19 off 9. The chase was finished off with a six over cow corner by M Mohammed as four batters from the side crossed the 30-run mark.

Earlier, Kerala came up with a solid batting performance despite captain Sanju Samson out for a two-ball duck. Rohan Kunnummal made a 43-ball 51 and was involved in fruitful partnerships with Mohammed Azharuddeen (15) and Sachin Baby (33). But Yadav’s double-wicket strike in the 13th over, when he took out Kunnummal followed by Samson brought Tamil Nadu back in the match. But a late onslaught from Vishnu Vinod (65 not out off 26 balls) caught Tamil Nadu by surprise. Vinod smacked two fours and seven sixes, to help Kerala past 180 as Kerala took 62 runs off the last three overs but it proved insufficient eventually.

Meanwhile, Vidarbha hadn’t got a tall chase to book their semi-final spot, thanks to their bowlers, all of whom took a wicket each and with economy rates not going beyond six. After opting to bowl first, Vidarbha reduced Rajasthan to 18/5 in 4.5 overs, with Yash Thakur taking two wickets. Post power-play, Rajasthan were never allowed to settle in by Vidarbha’s bowlers. Only Kamlesh Nagarkoti’s 39 off 48 balls was a noteworthy knock as Rajasthan limped to 84/8. Apart from him, Mahipal Lomror (11) and Suraj Ahuja (12) were the only batters to reach double figures.

Chasing a paltry total, the opening pair of Atharva Taide and Ganesh Satish put up a 63-run stand. Though Aniket Choudhary ended the opening partnership by dismissing Satish (28) Taide (40 off 42 balls) carried his bat through the innings in the company of Akshay Wadkar (11 not out) to complete the chase within 15 overs.

Brief scores; Kerala: 181/4 in 20 overs (Vishnu Vinod 65 not out, Rohan Kunnummal 51, Sanjay Yadav 2/23, Murugan Ashwin 1/20) lost to Tamil Nadu: 187/5 in 19.3 overs (Sai Sudharsan 46, Vijay Shankar 33, Unnikrishnan Manukrishnan 3/26, Sudhesan Midhun 1/32) by 5 wickets.

Rajasthan: 84/8 in 20 overs (Kamlesh Nagarkoti 39 not out, Mahipal Lomror 11, Yash Thakur 2/24, Akshay Karnewar 1/7) lost to Vidarbha: 87/1 in 14.5 overs (Atharva Taide 40 not out, Ganesh Satish 28, Aniket Choudhary 1/4) by 9 wickets.