Karnataka 176 for 7 (Kadam 87, Pandey 54, Nalkande 4-28, Lalit 2-36) beat Vidarbha 172 for 6 (Taide 32, Satish 31, Cariappa 2-27) by four runs
Darshan Nalkande took four wickets in four balls, but the right-arm seamer's history-making effort was not enough to push Vidarbha past Karnataka in the second semi-final of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. Karnataka will now take on Tamil Nadu in a re-match of the 2019 final, on November 22.
Nalkande's four-wicket burst came in the final over of Karnataka's innings, keeping them to 176 for 7. Vidarbha made a good fist of the chase, but were playing catch-up in the final stages, and eventually ended at 172 for 6.
Karnataka's total was built around Rohan Kadam's aggressive 87 at the top of the order. It was Kadam's ninth T20 fifty in only his 27th innings. He was the main driver in an opening stand of 132 that took up 15.1 overs, in partnership with captain Manish Pandey, who made a rather sedate 54 (42 balls) at the other end.
Kadam reached his fifty off 36 balls, and remained aggressive after that, eventually falling to Lalit Yadav after a 56-ball innings that was laced with seven fours and four sixes.
Abhinav Manohar, who made his debut this season and was playing only his third game, gave Karnataka impetus at the death with a 13-ball 27 after coming in at No.3, and the team was on 175 for 3 after 19 overs, with Manohar off strike. He eventually got strike only on the fifth ball, when he became Nalkande's fourth victim. Nalkande had Aniruddha Joshi hooking to short fine leg, then wicketkeeper BR Sharath caught behind while looking to scoop, and completed the hat-trick with J Suchith holing out to deep square leg off a pull shot. He made it four in four when Manohar, who crossed and took strike next ball, spliced a top edge to cover.
It meant Karnataka finished about 10 runs short of what they might have expected to, but the bowlers still had a sizeable score to defend.
Vidarbha began well, with the 21-year-old Atharva Taide carrying on his good form, smashing 32 off 16 at the top of the order. Taide set the tone by taking 15 runs off the first five balls of the chase, but mystery spinner KC Cariappa, introduced in the third over, made the breakthrough, having Taide caught by Pandey to leave Vidarbha 43 for 1 in five overs.
While Vidarbha's top order continued to make starts, none of them stayed on and gave the innings impetus as Kadam had done for Karnataka, or even kept one end ticking as Pandey had done. Every single batter in the top seven got into double figures, but Taide's 32 was the highest score.
Karnataka's bowlers kept striking regularly, and the required rate steadily crept up. Akshay Karnewar and Apoorv Wankhade offered a glimpse of revival with a 41-run sixth-wicket stand in 4.2 overs, but Karnewar fell to the first ball of the final over, having faced up to Vidyadhar Patil with 14 runs needed. Karnewar hit two sixes and a four in his 12-ball 22, and with his wicket, the outside chance Vidarbha had of storming to victory receded. Patil kept things tight through the rest of the final over, and a last-ball four from Wankhade only served to narrow Vidarbha's margin of defeat.