Saravana Kumar bags five as Tamil Nadu cruise into Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy final
Hyderabad, unbeaten before this game, were bowled out for 90 before TN got to the target with 34 balls to spare
Tamil Nadu 92 for 2 (Vijay 43*, Sudharsan 34*, Readdi 2-23) beat Hyderabad 90 (Thyagarajan 25, Saravana 5-21, Mohammed 2-12, Ashwin 2-13) by eight wickets
Tamil Nadu rode on an excellent bowling performance led by medium pacer P Saravana Kumar, who returned 5 for 21, to rout Hyderabad by eight wickets in Delhi on Saturday and storm into the final of the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 Trophy. Asked to bat first, Hyderabad only put up 90, just one of their batters getting into double-digits, and Tamil Nadu underscored their dominance with a sharp chase, finishing it with 34 balls in hand.
Hyderabad, so dominant as they swept the Elite Group E and then trumped Gujarat in the quarter-final, were in trouble straightaway after being asked to bat, Saravana striking in each of his three overs in the powerplay - twice in the second - to leave the scoreboard reading 30 for 4 after six overs. His victims at that stage were the top four of the Hyderabad order: captain Tanmay Agarwal, Pragnay Reddy, Tilak Varma and Himalay Agarwal.
Saravana later completed his five-for in his final over, the 19th of the innings, when he sent back the only bright spark for Hyderabad, Tanay Thyagarajan, who hit 25 in 24 balls, but between his strikes, the trio of M Ashwin, M Mohammed and R Sai Kishore did a great job too.
Legspinner Ashwin got rid of B Sandeep and Chama Milind, while medium pacer Mohammed sent back Ravi Teja and Mehdi Hassan, and left-arm spinner Sai Kishore dismissed Rahul Buddhi.
For 32-year-old Saravana, it was a maiden five-for in what was his third game - all T20s, all in this tournament - for Tamil Nadu.
Though chasing a modest target, Tamil Nadu were in trouble early as they lost N Jagadeesan and H Nishaanth to quick bowler Rakshann Readdi by the third over, but that was as good as it got for Hyderabad on the day.
Sai Sudharsan and captain Vijay Shankar didn't allow their opponents to make any further inroads, adding 76 runs together for the unbroken third-wicket stand, with Sudharsan making 34 in 31, with four fours, and Vijay hitting 43 in 40, his fourth four and only six, off Readdi, in the 15th over of the innings completing the win for Tamil Nadu.
Tamil Nadu will face the winners of the other semi-final, being played between Karnataka and Vidarbha, in the title round.