Karnataka 195 for 2 (Padikkal 87, Rahul 66, Agarwal 30*) beat Haryana 194 for 8 (Rana 61, Bishnoi 55, Patel 34, Tewatia 32, Mithun 5-39, Gopal 2-23) by eight wickets
It was a six fest at Surat's Lalabhai Contractor Stadium as a sizeable crowd was treated to some outstanding short-format hitting from KL Rahul and Devdutt Padikkal to start with, and then by Mayank Agarwal. But that Karnataka were chasing 195 on a belter of a pitch and not something in the region of 210 was down to a very special performance from Abhimanyu Mithun, who made history by picking up five wickets, including four off the first four deliveries, in the final over of the Haryana innings.
When Mithun was handed the ball for the final over, Himanshu Rana was on 61 from 33 balls, Rahul Tewatia was on 32 from 19, and Haryana 192 for 3. Ball one: Rana holes out to Agarwal at cow corner. Second ball: Tewatia slogs one to Karun Nair at long-on. Third ball: Sumit Kumar scoop-pulls a slower one to Rohan Kadam at short fine-leg. Hat-trick! Fourth ball: Amit Mishra hits to K Gowtham in the covers. Double hat-trick! This is followed by a wide and a single, taking Haryana to 194. Then, sixth ball: Jayant Yadav moves outside the off stump and guides it straight to Rahul behind the stumps. Five in an over!
Smiles, whoops of joy, high-fives - the momentum was certainly with Karnataka at the break.
"I kept wickets, so I knew they were 10-15 runs short," Rahul told Star Sports after the game. "That was the chat at the halfway mark. To chase this down in 15 overs tells you everything about the pitch. We knew if we got a good start, we had the batting to chase this down."
That's what happened. Once they came out to bat, Rahul and Padikkal pressed home the advantage ruthlessly.
To be fair, Harshal Patel started well, conceding just one run in the first over of the chase. But Padikkal hit an inside-out drive over the off side and then a delicate flick for fours in the second over, bowled by Ashish Hooda, and Karnataka were on their way. Patel was taken for 16 runs in the third, Hooda then gave away 23 in the next, and the Haryana fielders were mostly spotted retrieving the ball as the Powerplay yielded 82 runs.
With that sort of platform, there was no real threat of Karnataka losing, not with Agarwal, Nair, Manish Pandey and Kadam to follow, and the question really was about how soon they would cross the line. It took them 15 overs.
Rahul got to his half-century in the seventh over, reaching the milestone off 21 balls. He was dismissed not long after, though, mistiming a hoick off a Yadav slower delivery to long-on a ball after slamming yet another maximum, but his 31-ball 66 was an outstanding innings, the four fours and six sixes keeping the crowd entertained.
Not that Padikkal wasn't turning it on at the other end. He was on 56 off 26 balls when Rahul fell, and ensured the big hits kept coming even as Agarwal walked in and hit Mishra for back-to-back sixes down the ground in the 11th over. With Padikkal in sight of a century, Agarwal did look like he was putting the big hits away, and the youngster obliged with a flurry of fours and sixes, taking his tally up to 11 fours and four sixes. But, with both his century and the target just 13 runs away, a flick off Patel refused to go high enough or long enough, and landed in Chaitanya Bishnoi's hands at deep midwicket.
Padikkal's 87 came from 42 balls, and took his tally for the tournament up to 548, comfortably ahead of second-placed Ruturaj Gaikwad's 419. With this coming close on the heels of the 19-year-old opener's chart-topping 609 runs from the 50-over Vijay Hazare Trophy, it's been quite the season for Padikkal.
It's also been quite the season for Mithun, the seasoned pro, who recorded the second instance of a bowler picking up five wickets in an over in a T20 game. Not to forget, the double hat-trick came just over a month after he picked up a hat-trick in the final of the Hazare trophy, as Karnataka beat Tamil Nadu.
Before Mithun's heroics, however, it did look like Haryana meant business. In the first ten overs, they had 92 for 2 on the board. The start was frenetic, with Bishnoi and Patel putting on 67 for the first wicket by the seventh over before Patel, the medium-pacer who has enjoyed a good time as an opener this season, fell for a 20-ball 34. Shivam Chauhan didn't last long either, Shreyas Gopal accounting for both of them, but Rana and Bishnoi kept the tempo up with some lusty hitting.
After Bishnoi fell, run out for a 35-ball 55, having been sent back by Rana when trying to steal a quick single to Pandey, Tewatia performed his role well and it was all going swimmingly for Haryana till the last over. But Rana first, for a 34-ball 61, and Tewatia next, for 32 off 20 balls, were sent back going for big hits by Mithun in that remarkable final over, and the game slipped away from Haryana rather quickly.