Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy 2021 Group A: Winning start for Tamil Nadu

Defending champion Tamil Nadu began its campaign with a 12-run win over Maharashtra in the Elite Group A match of the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 tournament at the Bharat Ratna Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee Ekana Cricket Stadium in Lucknow on Thursday.

Put in to bat, TN openers C. Hari Nishaanth and N. Jagadeesan stitched a 51-run stand for the first wicket. Debutant B. Sai Sudharsan kept the momentum going with a quickfire 35 off just 19 balls.ย 

The stylish left-hander started with two slog-sweep boundaries off left-arm spinner Azim Kazi. He then went after the other left-arm spinner Satyajeet Bachhav for two consecutive boundaries.ย 

After Sudharsanโ€™s dismissal, skipper Vijay Shankar cut loose with an unbeaten 42 off just 21 balls. The all-rounder went after medium-pacer Pradeep Dadhe hitting him for three boundaries and a six to help TN finish strongly at 167/4.

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In reply, Maharashtra started strongly with skipper Ruturaj Gaikwad continuing his good form from the IPL with a 30-ball 51. Gaikwad along with Yash Nahar added 58 for the first wicket in less than seven overs.ย 

He went for three consecutive boundaries off left-arm spinner R. Sai Kishore.ย However, TN fought back with leg-spinner M. Ashwin who removed the openers. He had Nahar caught behind while Gaikwad was dismissed leg-before trying a reverse sweep.ย 

With 86 needed off the last ten overs, the Maharashtra middle-order batters struggled to keep up with the asking rate as the TN bowlers tightened the noose by picking up wickets regularly. With 20 needed off the last over, medium-pacer Sandeep Warrier delivered for TN conceding just seven runs.ย 

In the other Group A match, Odisha defeated Goa by four wickets in a low-scoring match. Asked to bat first, Goa managed only 104/8 in 20 overs with Shubham Ranjane top-scoring making 32. In reply, Odisha stuttered towards the total winning the match of the penultimate delivery of the innings. Opener Anshuman Rath was the top scorer for Odishaย scoringย 29.

In the final Group A match, Punjab produced a dominant performance to beat Pondicherry by eight wickets with skipper Abhishek Sharma producing an all-round performance. Left-arm spinner Abhishek picked up three wickets at the start of the innings to reduce Pondicherry to 28 for 5. After a brief recovery, Siddharth Kaul cleaned up the tail with three wickets in the last over of the innings to restrict Pondicherry to just 106.ย 

Chasing 107, the skipper slammed an unbeaten 54 off just 33 balls (5×4, 2×6) to help his side reach the target in just 12.5 overs.

Summarised scores

TN 167/4 in 20 overs (Vijay Shankar 42, B. Sai Sudharsan 35, N. Jagadeesan 30, Satyajeet Bachhav 2/35) bt Maharashtra 155/6 in 20 overs (Ruturaj Gaikwad 51, M. Ashwin 2/18).

Goa 104/8 in 20 overs (Shubham Ranjane 32, Jayanta Behera 3/14, Bikash K Rout 3/27, Ashish Rai 2/20) lost to Odisha 107/6 in 19.5 overs (Lakshay A Garg 2/11).ย 

Pondicherry 106 in 19.5 overs (Sagar V Trivedi 44, Siddharth Kaul 3/6, Abhishek Sharma 3/7) lost to Punjab 107/2 in 12.5 overs (Abhishek Sharma 54 n.o.).

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