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Bowlers and Washington Sundar make it Tamil Nadu v Karnataka again

Washington Sundar bats in the nets Associated Press

Tamil Nadu 116 for 3 (Washington 54*, R Ashwin 31, D Chahar 1-11) beat Rajasthan 112 for 9 (Rajesh Bishnoi 23, Vijay Shankar 2-13, Washington 1-2) by seven wickets

Dinesh Karthik's Tamil Nadu and Manish Pandey's Karnataka will square off for the Syed Mushtaq Ali title in a repeat of the 50-over Vijay Hazare final on December 1. Incidentally, this will be the first time that the finalists of the Vijay Hazare trophy will also contest for the Syed Mushtaq Ali trophy in an Indian domestic season.

After asking Rajasthan to bat first under lights in Surat's Lalabhai Contractor Stadium, Karthik rifled through his options, using as many as seven bowlers to limit Rajasthan to 112 for 9.

Tamil Nadu then bumped up R Ashwin to the top - he was opening the batting for only the second time in T20 cricket according to ESPNcricinfo's data - and although he couldn't get the big hits away, the senior pro helped see off the new-ball threat posed by Deepak Chahar and co.

After C Hari Nishanth chopped on to Chahar for a duck, Ashwin put on 69 for the second wicket with allrounder Washington Sundar to lend direction to the chase. Ashwin holed out for 31 off 33 balls in the 11th over and then Karthik was pinned lbw for 17 six overs later, but Washington remained unbeaten on 54 off 46 balls to finish the chase without much fuss.

ALSO READ: Sai Kishore - spinning fingers and sweet dreams

Earlier in the evening, though, Washington didn't have too much to do with the ball, delivering a solitary over and claiming the wicket of opener Ankit Lamba for 15. Rajasthan captain Chahar promoted himself as the other opener - he was initially picked by Stephen Fleming as a batting allrounder at Rising Pune Supergiant - but Tamil Nadu's new-ball fingerspinner R Sai Kishore barged through his flimsy defences with an arm ball. The wicket took Kishore's Powerplay tally to 15 in this Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. No other bowler has taken more than 10 wickets in the Powerplay this tournament.

With Royal Challengers Bangalore's director of cricket Mike Hesson and a few other scouts in attendance, Kishore finished with 1 for 35 in his four overs. M Siddharth, the other left-arm spinner, who was a belated inclusion in the squad after M Vijay suffered an injury, returned 1 for 22.

Seam-bowling allrounder Vijay Shankar hit the hard lengths and compounded Rajasthan's woes, picking up 2 for 13 in his four overs. Ashwin was held back until the 14th over and he struck almost immediately, trapping Manander Singh lbw for 7. At this point, Rajasthan were tottering at 76 for 7. Some late blows from Chandrapal Singh and Ravi Bishnoi hauled Rajasthan past 100 and helped them avoid the ignominy of being bundled out.

Barring the Bishnois - Rajesh and Ravi - no other Rajasthan batsman passed 20. Chahar, however, briefly raised their hopes when he dismissed Hari Nishanth, but Ashwin and Washington saw off the Powerplay without any further damage. Ashwin ventured to play some funky shots, but couldn't connect with them well enough while Washington was more adept at keeping the scorecard ticking.

Washington was particularly severe on Ravi Bishnoi, the legspinner, taking him for 30 off 16 balls, including three sixes, the pick of them being a rasping slog-sweep over midwicket. In stark contrast, Ashwin was scratchy against the spinners and his stop-start innings finally ended when he hit a half-tracker from left-arm fingerspinner Chandrapal straight into the lap of deep midwicket.

Left-arm seamer Aniket Choudhary gave Rajasthan another reason to smile when he removed Karthik, but it was Washington who had the last laugh.

In 2006-07, Tamil Nadu became the inaugural Syed Mushtaq Ali champions under Karthik. Can they repeat the feat against a power-packed Karnataka side that thumped them in October earlier this year?

Tamil Nadu 2nd innings Partnerships

WktRunsPlayers
1st0R AshwinC Hari Nishanth
2nd69R AshwinWashington Sundar
3rd36KD KarthikWashington Sundar
4th11B AparajithWashington Sundar

Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy

Super League Group A
TeamMWLPTNRR
HRYNA431121.124
RAJ4228-0.254
MAHA4228-0.444
BRODA4228-0.908
DELHI41340.55
Super League Group B
TeamMWLPTNRR
TN431120.869
KNTKA431120.762
MUM43112-0.194
PNJB41340.746
JKAND4040-2.323
Group A
TeamMWLPTNRR
BRODA651201.351
KNTKA651202.052
SVCS642160.234
AP633120.797
UKHND6248-0.448
GOA6248-0.917
BIHAR6060-2.972
Group B
TeamMWLPTNRR
TN651203.195
RAJ642161.938
VIDAR642160.566
KER642160.503
UP63312-0.509
TPURA6154-1.983
MNPR6060-3.929
Group C
TeamMWLPTNRR
MAHA752200.51
PNJB743161.026
CHGRH743160.701
CGARH743160.686
HYD74316-0.255
RLYS74316-0.872
HP734120.564
ARPR7070-2.685
Group D
TeamMWLPTNRR
MUM761242.126
HRYNA761241.744
BENG743161.289
MP743160.78
PONDI743160.05
MEGHA73412-1.52
ASSAM7164-0.49
MIZOR7070-4.283
Group E
TeamMWLPTNRR
DELHI751221.331
JKAND751220.982
GUJ742181.974
J + K742180.449
ODSH733140.576
SAU734120.559
NAGA7164-2.437
SIKM7062-3.002