Savage openers drive Karnataka into final
After winning the toss and opting to bowl, Karnataka faced the wrath of the Haryana openers, who hammered 64 runs within the powerplay. Chaitanya Bishnoi and Himanshu Rana scored half-centuries, with supporting roles from Rahul Tewatia and Harshal Patel, as they coasted to 192 for 3 in 19 overs. In the final over, however, Abhimanyu Mithun returned to drop every jaw in sight, picking up five wickets in the final over - four off consecutive balls, and the fifth off the final ball of the innings, ending with the first-ever five-wicket haul with every wicket coming in one over.
Chasing 195 to secure a spot in the final, Karnataka employed a no-nonsense approach, led by Rahul, who laid into the Haryana attack to launch a breathtaking assault, scoring a fifty off 21 balls. Karnataka coasted to 82 runs in the powerplay, as Rahul (66 off 31) and Padikkal (87 off 42) scored rapid half-centuries at over a strike-rate of 200. They were eventually dismissed before Mayank Agarwal and Manish Pandey capped off the chase with five overs to spare, catapulting Karnataka into the final of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, to be played on Sunday (December 1) against the winner of the second semi-final to be played later today (Tamil Nadu vs. Rajasthan).
Brief Scores: Haryana 194-8 in 20 overs (Himanshu Rana 61, Chaitanya Bishnoi 55; Abhimanyu Mithun 5-39) lost to Karnataka 195-2 in 15 overs (Devdutt Padikkal 87, KL Rahul 66; Harshal Patel 1-29) by 8 wickets.
After winning the toss and opting to field in the second semi-final, Tamil Nadu strangled Rajasthan, as only Rajesh and Ravi Bishnoi managed to enter the twenties. Deepak Chahar, who promoted himself to the opening slot after his fifty in the last game, failed to impress after an early six in the innings, losing his stumps to Sai Kishore. Vijay Shankar was the pick of the bowlers, with two middle-order wickets, as a miserly Tamil Nadu restricted Rajasthan to a paltry 112-9 in 20 overs. That they got to the three-figure mark was thanks mainly to the 30-run partnership between Ravi Bishnoi and Chandrapal Singh.
There was yet another opening surprise as Ravichandran Ashwin walked out to face the new ball with Hari Nishanth. The latter fell for a duck, but Ashwin paced his innings rather maturely in Washington Sundar's (54*) company, stitching together a 69-run stand, before Sundar and Aparajith applied the finishing touches to take Tamil Nadu through to the final comfortably, with thirteen balls to spare.
The final of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy will be played between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu (also the finalists in this year's Vijay Hazare Trophy) on Sunday (December 1).
Brief Scores: Rajasthan 112-9 in 20 overs (Rajesh Bishnoi 23, Ravi Bishnoi 22*; Vijay Shankar 2-13) lost to Tamil Nadu 116-3 in 17.5 overs (Washington Sundar 54*, Ravichandran Ashwin 31; Deepak Chahar 1-11) by 7 wickets.