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​Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy: TN, Karnataka, Rajasthan and Haryana Gear up For Semi-Finals

The Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy is in its last legs, with two semi-finals and one final remaining before this season’s champion is crowned. We preview the two all-important matches that will determine just who makes it to the final of this year’s competition.

Cricketnext Staff |November 28, 2019, 5:53 PM IST
​Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy: TN, Karnataka, Rajasthan and Haryana Gear up For Semi-Finals

The Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy is in its last legs, with two semi-finals and one final remaining before this season’s champion is crowned. We preview the two all-important matches that will determine just who makes it to the final of this year’s competition.

Tamil Nadu vs Rajasthan

Having finished as table toppers in both Group B and Super League Group B, Tamil Nadu will look at their semi-final against Rajasthan as another opportunity to carry on their good form and book a place in the final.

In their last match against Jharkhand, the spin duo of Washington Sundar and M Siddarth took seven wickets between them and stamped their authority all over the match. With Rajasthan’s Deepak Chahar in good form after his innings of 53 off 42 balls against Delhi helped them seal a semi-final berth, it will be interesting to see how he counters the threat of the two in-form spinners on a dry Surat wicket that is sure to give them some assistance.

Tamil Nadu’s Shahrukh Khan is a batsman in form, who’s latest contribution was the comfortable 28-ball 24 that he made in his team’s victory over Jharkhand. But the beauty of this Tamil Nadu team so far in the tournament has been their unpredictability with their batting line-up. For instance, Washington Sundar came in as a number three batsman and hit a 22-ball 38 to help his team to victory in the last game.

It is then apparent that Rajasthan will need to be adaptive against Tamil Nadu and think on their feet, according to the changing situation of the match. But in Deepak Chahar, they have their very own Washington Sundar who can have a lethal impact with both bat and ball.

The journey to the semi-final has not been as smooth for Rajasthan, who finished level on points with Baroda and Maharashtra in Super Leage group A. But by virtue of having a higher net run-rate, they pipped the other two teams to the second spot in the table, behind Haryana in first position.

If Rajasthan win the toss, they will look to bat first and put scoreboard pressure on the Tamil Nadu batsmen, as they’re unlikely to want to face the spin of Sundar and Siddharth in a scenario where they have to chase down a score under pressure.

They will need a big contribution from the middle order in particular, including Mahipal Lomror and Rajesh Bishnoi. And if openers Manender Singh and Ankit Lamba manage to get going at the top of the order, this has all the makings of a thrilling semi-final, even though Tamil Nadu go into the encounter as favourites.

Haryana vs Karnataka

In a closely fought Super League A group, Haryana came out on top with twelve points ahead of teams like Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Baroda and Delhi. That Delhi finished at the bottom of the pile came as a surprise to many, but Haryana demonstrated why they deserved to go through with their consistency.

In their last game against Maharashtra, even though in-form batsman Chaitanya Bishnoi was dismissed for a duck Harshal Patel (22) and Shivam Rishipal Chauhan (33) steadied the ship. It is the kind of middle-order resistance that will come in handy in a semi-final where the margin for error is minimal. Karnataka’s Shreyas Gopal and Ronit More have come through with big wickets in almost every match that they have played, and the Rajasthan batsmen will need to be more than just wary of their threat. In a match that will be played under the lights, both captains will be looking to win the toss and bowl first, with the due making bowling difficult in the second innings.

Karnataka have also come into the semi-final on the back of some strong performances. Star batsman Devdutt Padikkal was in the thick of the action once again in their last game against Mumbai, driving his team on with a brilliant 57 runs off just 34 balls. He has been one of the finds of the tournament, and if he keeps his form going, he will start garnering attention with regards to a spot in one of India’s limited overs teams.

KL Rahul will also be one to look out for, being Karnataka’s talisman who has delivered the goods for his team whenever they needed it. His international experience will certainly have a calming experience in high-pressure situations for players in the team who would not be used to playing in a significant domestic semi-final before this.

Paddikal is currently the highest run-getter in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, and this season looks like it has his stamp all over it. On the other hand, not a single Rajasthan batsman finds his name in the top 10 run-scorers. They find themselves in a semi-final despite that. It just goes on to show how Rajasthan’s success has been based on overall team performances. They would be looking at one more big performance against a side that are expected to turn up and waltz their way into the semi. Rajasthan will sure have other plans.

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