Hemant Brar is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo
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Karnataka 180 for 5 (Pandey 60*, Kadam 35, M Ashwin 2-33, R Ashwin 2-34) beat Tamil Nadu 179 for 6 (Vijay 44, Aparajith 40, More 2-32) by one run
Defending champions Karnataka survived a Baba Aparajith-Vijay Shankar scare to clinch a last-ball win as they beat Tamil Nadu by one run in the final of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy 2019-20. They became the first team two win both white-ball titles in the same season, having won the 50-over Vijay Hazare Trophy a little over a month ago, and incidentally, Tamil Nadu were the losing side in the final on both occasions.
After being put in, Manish Pandey led from the front, scoring an unbeaten 60 off 45 balls to help Karnataka to a formidable 180 for 5. In response, Tamil Nadu were 80 for 4 at the end of ten overs before Vijay and Aparajith revived the chase by adding 71 in 43 balls for the fifth wicket.
It came down to 13 required from the final over with Vijay and R Ashwin in the middle. R Ashwin hit offspinner K Gowtham's first two balls for fours before playing a dot ball and taking a single to put Vijay on strike. With four needed from two balls, Vijay was run out while returning for a non-existent second run, Pandey's throw from long-on catching him short.
With two required off the final ball for a Super Over, non-striker R Ashwin removed his pads but his namesake M Ashwin could hardly get the ball off the pitch and the batsmen managed only one.
Tamil Nadu stumble after strong start
Tamil Nadu started their chase positively and moved to 64 for 2 at the end of seven overs with Washington Sundar and Dinesh Karthik looking well set. Karthik had just hit two fours off Shreyas Gopal and when Rohan Kadam failed to latch on to a rebound at the deep-backward square-leg boundary in the eighth over, it looked like it would be Tamil Nadu's night.
Karnataka, though, struck back by dismissing the two in successive overs: J Suchith had Karthik stumped and Gowtham castled Washington.
Karnataka survive Aparajith, Vijay scare
Tamil Nadu needed 101 from the last ten overs and Vijay and Aparajith never let the asking rate go past 11. They found at least one boundary per over between overs 11 to 15 and reduced the equation to 52 from five overs.
Aparajith then hit the first balls of the next two overs for sixes and took the side closer. But with 31 needed from 18 balls, he fell to Ronit More while looking for another six. Vijay and R Ashwin further brought it down to 25 from 12 and then 13 from six, but in the end, they fell short by the narrowest of margins.
R Ashwin's two-in-two not enough
It was billed as a contest between Karnataka's batsmen and Tamil Nadu's bowlers. And the black-soil surface did seem to aid spinners. There was turn available, with a couple of balls coming slower off the pitch. Add R Ashwin and Washington's guiles to the mix, and you would back them to trouble most batsmen.
Karnataka's batsmen, though, just don't fall in that category. KL Rahul started the innings by cutting R Ashwin past point for four. While his opening partner Devdutt Padikkal didn't look at his best and was pinged on the helmet by a T Natarajan bouncer in the fourth over, the youngster remained unperturbed and flicked the seamer for a six three balls later.
In the next over, Rahul used his feet against R Ashwin to hit him over long-on but the spinner had his revenge next ball. Rahul skipped down again but R Ashwin shortened his length this time and had the batsman caught at long-on. Mayank Agarwal fell for a first-ball duck, closing the face of the bat too early to offer R Ashwin a simple return catch.
But Padikkal hit Washington for a six and a four in the next over to take Karnataka to 57 for 2 at the end of the powerplay.
Pandey leads with unbeaten half-century
Padikkal's scratchy innings came to an end when he played inside the line to a Washington delivery and had his off stump flattened. His 23-ball 32 took his run tally for the tournament to 580, the most in a single edition of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy.
At the other end, Pandey stepped out against M Ashwin, hitting him for a six and four. He, in the company of Kadam, took the side past 100 in the 12th over.
Kadam too hit his stride after a slow start and struck back-to-back fours off left-arm spinner M Siddharth before hitting Vijay for three in a row in the next over. Pandey kept putting away the loose balls and despite just 34 runs from the last four overs, Karnataka managed a total that proved just enough.
Karnataka clinch last-ball thriller to defend Syed Mushtaq Ali title
Karnataka became the first team to hold both white-ball titles in the same domestic season
Devdutt Padikkal carves his own niche in star-studded Karnataka line-up
The 19-year old has impressed RCB director of cricket Mike Hesson and captain Virat Kohli with his run-spree and attitude
Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy
Super League Group A