Karnataka eye maiden title

KEY MAN: Karnataka would want their in-form skipper Manish Pandey to deliver in the final against Maharashtra on Thursday. DH FILE PHOTO

Old rivals Maharashtra and Karnataka will square-off in the final of the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 Trophy here at the Holkar stadium on Thursday after both teams stayed unbeaten in the Super League stage.

Karnataka, with a star-studded line up that has the likes of Mayank Agarwal, Karun Nair and Manish Pandey, have the superior batting unit on paper. 

Apart from the trio, in-form opener Rohan Kadam will be a wicket for Maharashtra. 

Karnataka had earlier won seven games in a row in the group stage to top the table. 

On the bowling front, R Vinay Kumar is among wickets and has done well during the death overs. Right-arm medium pacer V Koushik has come up the ranks and his spell in the middle overs has helped Karnataka dominate against strong batting units. 

Karnataka who failed to clinch the Vijay Hazare Trophy and the Ranji Trophy this year, will be eying to wrap up the season with a title. The southern powerhouse hasn't emerged champions in this tournament yet. 

For Maharashtra, this has been a collective effort rather than individual brilliance.

Someone like an 'ever-reliable' Ankit Bawne, an aggressive wicket-keeper-batsman Nikhil Naik or all-rounder Naushad Shaikh, have chipped in with their noteworthy performances when the side needed the most.

Naik shone with the bat against Railways, his unbeaten 95 playing a crucial role in the team's 21-run win.

If Maharashtra have to tame the famed Karnataka bowling line-up, which has quality bowlers, then one of these players will have to rise to the occasion and bat deep.

Maharashtra's bowling is led by the in-form left arm-medium pacer Samad Fallah along with senior pacer D J Muthuswami.

Even left-arm orthodox bowler Satyajeet Bachhav is in good touch.

Bawne said that his team was performing well as a unit and was excited for the summit clash.

"We are playing great as a team and performing as a unit brilliantly. The team is very excited for the final, we all want to give our best on the day and bring the trophy to Pune," Bawne told PTI.

Maharashtra coach Surendra Bhave remarked that all his players were in form.

"We would like to give (our) best shot. All our eleven players are in form and we have shown some great team spirit in this tournament and we would like to continue like that for one more day," the coach said ahead of the summit clash, which will be played under lights.

 

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Karnataka eye maiden title

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