- Haryana have two quality spinners in Yuzvendra Chahal and Amit Mishra and on a turning track at Surat they will be tough to play against
- Harshal Patel has been in good form throughput the season with the bat and ball and has the potential of swinging it in favor of Haryana
- Karnataka have a weak bowling attack and apart from Shreyas Gopal no other bowler looks in good form at the moment
It’s been close to a month of non-stop T20 cricket in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy 2019-20 and were are just three games away from knowing the champions of India’s domestic T20 competition. Toppers of the Group A in the Super League stage Haryana would take on the defending champions Karnataka in the first semi-final at the Lalabhai Contractor Stadium, Surat. Both sides have played exceedingly well in the League and the Super League stages of the competition and have their players in good form.
For Karnataka this will be the second consecutive season where they are in this stage. Having done it last year they would know how to absorb the occasion. As for their opponents Haryana, it would be a shot at glory as the side has never played in the finals of this tournament. They are a good side that has risen in stature in the tournament playing as a well-gelled unit. Both sides bring in good skills to the game and it will be interesting to see them battle it out in the middle.
It was a heartbreaking loss for Amit Mishra’s team in the last game against Maharashtra, only the second loss of the season for the side. But they have been on a roll topping in the league as well as super-league stage. Harshal Patel has been in great form with the bat and ball this season and along with his fellow opener Chaitanya Bishnoi he would be expected to provide the side with a good start. Shivam Chauhan, Himanshu Rana and Rahul Tewatia have done well in the middle order. Sumit Kumar and Jitesh Saroha with their hitting abilities look good down the order. Bowling attack is strong for the side with Yuzvendra Chahal and Patel in the attack. Amit Mishra brings good experience and along with Ashish Hooda makes the bowling attack strong.
Manish Pandey would be happy with the way his side has played in the tournament. The loss against Mumbai in their last Super League game was an aberration for the side which has otherwise been on the top of their game. Going into the next game openers Lokesh Rahul and Devdutt Padikkal will hold the key to success. The latter is among the top run getters this season. Middle order has Manish Pandey and Karun Nair, both highly experienced. Rohan Kadam also is in good form and completes a good batting line-up. Shreyas Gopal has done well this season and the side will need his miserly spells. Krishnappa Gowtham is also bowling well and together with the experience of Abhimanyu Mithun they have a good bowling attack.
It is an afternoon game and it would be easiest to bat in the first innings. The ball will start to swing and seam as we go into the evening. It will also turn more as the game progresses. We expect the side winning the toss to opt for batting first on this surface.
PITCH AND WEATHER CONDITIONS
Lalabhai Contractor Stadium, Surat has seen some high scoring encounters and the pitch has been a good one to bat on. Though the bounce has been low the ball has come nicely to the bat allowing batsmen to free their arms easily. There isn’t likely to be much for the fast bowlers on this surface while the spinners will do well especially in the second innings. It will be bright and sunny afternoon at Surat with the maximum temperature around the 34° C mark and humidity of 69%.
Haryana and Karnataka would be able to hold their heads high irrespective of the result of the upcoming game. Both sides have done well in their earlier games and rightly deserve to be in the semi-finals. Batting wise there is little to choose between the two sides as their resources match well. It is however in the bowling department that Haryana have the edge with two world class spinners in their side. Given the conditions where the ball is likely to turn we expect Haryana to start nose ahead of Karnataka and be the favorites to win this game.