- Karnataka’s batting is very strong with Devdutt Padikkal, Mayank Agarwal and Lokesh Rahul in great form with the bat
- Karnataka’s Devdutt Padikkal is the top run scorer this season with 424 runs and he alone can guide his team to a win
- Tamil Nadu’s batting is weak and apart from Washington Sundar no other batsmen has shown consistency
153 matches have been player so far in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy 2019-20 and we have our two finalists among the 38 teams that took part in the league. It will be a south zone battle as defending champions Karnataka would take on Tamil Nadu in the final. This will be the first appearance in the final for Tamil Nadu after they had won the inaugural season of the league which was named Inter-State T20 Championship back then. Both sides have played well and shown consistency throughout the season to make it to the finals.
The two teams currently look in great form and the manner in which the sides stormed into the finals would have raised expectations in both the camps as well as among their fans. Karnataka won the first semi-final defeating Haryana by 8 wickets while Tamil Nadu thrashed Rajasthan by 7 wickets. There are good players on both sides. Tamil Nadiu has a very strong bowling attack that has done well in this season and Karnataka’s batmen have been blazing all guns. It will be a battle between Tamil Nadu’s bowlers and Karnataka’s batsmen and we have an interesting game on our hands.
Manish Pandey’s side stormed into the finals with a scintillating win against Haryana in the first semi-final. The side made a mockery of the big score chasing it down in 15 overs. In the batting department the side has good strength with Lokesh Rahul and season’s top scorer Devdutt Padikkal in good form. Manish Pandey, Mayank Agarwal and Karun Nair have great hitting abilities and this adds to the strength of the side. It is their batting that the side would depend on. Despite Abhimanyu Mithun’s heroics in the last game the bowling attack looks a bit jittery and the side will need better efforts with the ball from the likes of Krishnappa Gowtham, Ronit More and Shreyas Gopal in this all important game.
Dinesh Karthik’s side thrashed Rajasthan by 7 wickets riding on the success of its bowling attack in the second semi-final. The team looks in good form ahead of the final and shall need a good start from its openers Hari Nishanth and Ravichandran Ashwin. Washington Sundar has to steer the innings as he has been the only consistent batsman for the side this season. Down the order Karthik, Baba Aparajith and Vijay Shankar have to do the big hitting towards the end. The bowling attack looks in great form with Ravisrinivasan Sai Kishore being the top wicket taker this season. Ashwin and Sundar add experience to the bowling attack. The side will need good show from M Siddhart with the new ball and Shankar in the middle overs.
The pitch has been a good one to bat on but interestingly both sides chose to field first in the semi-finals and ended up winning the games. It will be a big pressure game and considering there may be some dew, the side winning the toss would most likely field first.
PITCH AND WEATHER CONDITIONS
There have been several high scoring games at the Lalabhai Contractor Stadium, Surat this season. The pitches have been belters and we expect the one for the final to be an absolute flat surface where batsmen will be able to play their strokes. Being an evening game there would be tinge of movement for the fast bowlers but spinners might find it hard to bowl when the dew sets in with shorter boundaries here.
The weather would be slightly cloudy in the evening with humidity of around 50% with the mercury cooling to 28°C at the start of the game.
As like any big final there would be pressure on both sides and it is the team that absorbs the pressure better is likely to emerge as the winner. Karnataka and Tamil Nadu bring different strengths to this game. While the former has been riding on its batting prowess, it is the latter’s bowling that has won them games. On a pitch that is expected to be a good one to bat on Karnataka has slight edge. Also the fact that they have done it a year earlier makes their players more accustomed to the pressure in a big final. It is expected to be a good contest but Karnataka is more likely to win this one.