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SMAT final: Shahrukh Khan's late heroics help TN defend title

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New Delhi, Nov 22 (IANS) M Shahrukh Khan’s late heroics (33 not out off 15 balls), including a last-ball six, helped Tamil Nadu defend their Syed Mushtaq Trophy title, beating Karnataka by four wickets in a humdinger final of the 2021/22 edition at the Arun Jaitley Stadium on Monday. It was also the second consecutive season Khan hit the winning runs to clinch the trophy.

With this, Tamil Nadu have now won the title three times (2006/07, 2020/21 and 2021/22), the most by a team in the history of the tournament. The win also meant that Tamil Nadu avenged their one-run loss in the final to Karnataka in the 2019 edition of the tournament in Surat.

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The thrilling final also adds another glorious chapter to Karnataka-Tamil Nadu clashes in white-ball matches.

Chasing 152, C Hari Nishanth looked great but was run out by Vidyadhar Patil in the fourth over. Post Nishanth’s dismissal, Tamil Nadu became sluggish as Sai Sudharsan was trapped lbw by Karun Nair. N Jagadeesan (41 off 46 balls) and skipper Vijay Shankar (18 off 22 balls) struggled for fluency in their 44-run stand.

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KC Cariappa, one of the shining lights for Karnataka in the tournament, took out both Shankar and Jagadeesan, who fell in identical fashion while going for the big shot, in the 16th over to make things difficult for Tamil Nadu.

With 55 off 24 balls, Khan came to the crease and smashed 19 runs along with R Sanjay Yadav off Darshan MB in the 17th over. Pacer Prateek Jain conceded only six runs off the next over, including taking Yadav’s wicket to bring the equation to 30 off the last two overs.

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Khan got a six off the last ball of the penultimate over despite losing M Mohammed as Tamil Nadu needed 16 off the last over.

In the final over, R Sai Kishore got a boundary off the leading edge off Jain. After three singles, two wides and a brace, it all came down to five off the last ball. On the summit-deciding ball, Jain bowled a fuller delivery on leg stump, which was pulled by Khan over deep square leg for a massive six to seal a thrilling win for Tamil Nadu.

Earlier, inserted in to batting first, Kishore (3/12) and Yadav (1/32) rattled Karnataka early, with their top three of Nair, Rohan Kadam, Manish Pandey putting just 32 runs on the board in 5.1 overs.

It took a rescue act from Abhinav Manohar (46 off 37 balls) and Praveen Dubey (33 of 25 balls) to put Karnataka back on track.

But Sandeep Warrier struck by taking out Manohar in the 17th over. Dubey found company in Jagadeesha Suchith striking a late cameo. The duo slammed five boundaries in the last three overs, adding 42 runs to take Karnataka past the 150-run mark. But their efforts at the back-end weren’t enough to avoid Karnataka’s first loss in a final of white-ball tournaments.

Brief Scores: Karnataka 151/7 in 20 overs (Abhinav Manohar 46, Praveen Dubey 33; Sai Kishore 3/12, R Sanjay Yadav 1/32) lost to Tamil Nadu 153/6 in 20 overs (N Jagadeesan 41, M Shahrukh Khan 33 not out, KC Cariappa 2/23; Karun Nair 1/2) by four wickets.

–IANS

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