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SMAT Review: Here is how the players in the squad for NZ T20s fared

Last updated on 11 Nov 2021 | 10:51 AM
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SMAT Review: Here is how the players in the squad for NZ T20s fared

Even as India were in the midst of a horrid campaign, others continued to make the hard yards in the SMAT.

Ever since the victorious Oval Test, Indian players have been engulfed in a sea of T20 cricket, spanning the past couple of months across IPL, T20 World Cup and the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy (SMAT).

Since the T20 World Cup squad was announced in the first week of September, many good performers in the IPL missed out on a potential spot. Surprisingly, this list also included both the Orange and Purple Cap winners of the season. Even as India were in the midst of a horrid campaign, others continued to make the hard yards in the SMAT.

They finally reaped the benefits on Tuesday as the Indian T20I squad for the New Zealand series was announced. We take you through the performance of those selected in the Indian squad during the domestic T20 tournament so far. 

Ruturaj Gaikwad

After amassing 635 runs and becoming the youngest player to win the Orange Cap in IPL, Ruturaj Gaikwad was announced as Maharashtra's captain for the upcoming SMAT season. The youngster from CSK carried his batting form into the state team.

Batting at the top order, he led from the front with a quickfire 51 runs from 30 balls against Tamil Nadu. In the next couple of games against Punjab and Odisha, he continued scoring heavily. The 24-year old guided his team to consecutive victories with knocks of 80 (54) and 81 (47). Even in his final league game against Goa, he put up a good show with the bat scoring 44 runs.

As a result of his consistency, Maharashtra topped the Elite Group A after winning four games out of five. He signed off from this season with an aggregate of 259 runs at an average of 51.80 in five games. His 32 boundaries in the tournament so far are the most by any player this season.

Venkatesh Iyer

Taking the IPL by storm, Venkatesh Iyer's scintillating starts for KKR helped him win the Powerplayer of the season. He averaged 70.67 during the first six overs in ten games and also chipped in with the ball.

It was for Madhya Pradesh that we saw more of Venkatesh Iyer, the all-rounder. Not only did he provide blistering starts with the bat but also picked wickets consistently. He averaged 51.66 in five games with a leading run tally of 155 runs for MP. Interestingly, Venkatesh also led the run-scoring charts for his state in the previous SMAT season. 

With his right-arm medium pace, he ended up as the second best bowler for MP, next only to speedster Avesh Khan. Venkatesh bowled 22 dot deliveries in his four-over spell against Bihar, which is the most dot balls bowled in an innings. His figures were 2/2 in that match with an economy rate of 0.50 per over.

Avesh Khan

In a bowling lineup consisting of pace stalwarts Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje, Avesh Khan made a reputation for his express pace. He ended up as the second highest wicket-taker in the tournament with 24 scalps. His speed impressed the national selectors too who asked him to stay back in UAE with the Indian team as a net bowler.

The right-arm pacer left in time to join his team Madhya Pradesh for the SMAT season. Starting things in style against Assam, Avesh Khan kept it quiet in his initial overs before striking thrice in the death overs. He carried his brilliant form in the match against Railways where he ended up as the pick amongst the bowlers with 3/23. In the match where Bihar were bundled for 59, he again stood out with figures of 3/6.

The two matches where Avesh didn't pick wickets, his team failed to end up on the winning side. With nine wickets at a bowling strike rate of 12, the youngster again ended up with the most wickets by an MP player this season. He also achieved the same feat in the previous season. Avesh bowled a total of 59 dot deliveries which includes two maiden overs as well. 

Harshal Patel

It takes significant effort to dismantle the MI batting lineup twice in a single season. Harshal Patel constantly found himself amongst wickets in the IPL with a strike rate of 10.6 and ended up with a total of 32 wickets, joint-most in a single edition. He also became the first uncapped player to win the Purple cap.

Harshal Patel extended his IPL performances to SMAT where he was also captaining Haryana. He led the bowling attack with valour against Himachal Pradesh with figures of 3/27. Harshal also picked a couple of wickets apiece against Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan though he ended up on the expensive side. With eight wickets in five games, Harshal was their best bowler though his economy was close to 9 (8.88).

What's interesting is that Harshal also opened the batting for Haryana in all five games. His strike rate of 163.46 with three scores for a 20-odd allowed his team to get going in the powerplay. However with just two wins from five games, Haryana couldn't progress to the next round.

Yuzvendra Chahal

Yuzvendra Chahal was the most surprising exclusion from the T20 World Cup probables. He gave a statement to the selectors straightway by picking 14 wickets and conceding just above six runs per over in the UAE leg of the IPL. He was also the leading wicket-taker among the spinners in the second phase of the IPL.

However, Chahal didn't have a season to remember at the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy for Haryana. The leg spinner picked just a single wicket in five matches at an average of 144. He registered the unwanted record of having the highest bowling average with a minimum of one wicket. 

Mohammed Siraj 

The right arm medium pacer has witnessed a spectacular turnaround in his white-ball career. Mohammed Siraj finished IPL with a decent tally of 11 wickets. However, it was his economy rate of 6.79 that became the talking point. 

He started off with a string of splendid performances in the SMAT season. Siraj picked three wickets against Saurashtra to begin the season with a bang. In the next game versus Uttarakhand, he bowled a three-over spell with figures of 1/9. This was followed by another economical spell of 1/20 in four overs against Chandigarh.

While Siraj didn't take part in the final two games, Hyderabad continued their winning run by staying victorious in all their five games. 

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