The semi-finals of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy were quite contrasting with a one-sided match in the morning to a thrilling contest in the afternoon game.
If the first encounter was a display of Tamil Nadu's domination in the tournament, then the second game showed the valour of Karnataka in a high-pressure game. The winners of the last two editions will now be playing the final of this season.
We take you through a summary of the events that transpired in the semi-finals today.
Tamil Nadu trounce Hyderabad in a one-sided contest
Brief scores: Tamil Nadu 92/2 (14.2) (Vijay Shankar 43*, Rakshann Readdi 2/23) defeat Hyderabad 90/10 (18.3) (Tanay Thyagarajan 25, Saravana Kumar 5/21) by 8 wickets
Tamil Nadu cruised their way through the SMAT finals after registering a dominant win in the semifinals against Hyderabad.
Winning the toss and opting to bowl first, Saravana Kumar struck in his very first over to dismiss the opposition captain Tanmay Agarwal for 1. The right-arm medium pacer then picked a couple of more wickets in his next over. Moreover, both the overs were maidens as Saravana's figures after the first two overs read 2-2-0-3.
Bavanaka Sandeep decided to ploy an attacking tactic but couldn't sustain for long as he holed out against Murugan Ashwin. TNPL product Saravana came back to pick two more wickets and finish with a match-winning fifer.
Hyderabad were reduced to 44/7 before Tanay Thyagarajan's 25 got them to 90 all out. Ashwin and M Mohammed picked a couple wickets each while Sai Kishore got a single breakthrough.
As for Tamil Nadu, they cruised to victory but not without suffering an early scare. Rakshann Readdi struck twice in his second over to send back both openers.
However, skipper Vijay Shankar and Sai Sudharsan ensured there were no further casualties with an unbeaten 76-run partnership. The captain finished off in style with a maximum to take Tamil Nadu to their third consecutive final in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy.
Karnataka overcome a late scare to go past Vidarbha
Brief scores: Karnataka 176/7 (20) (Rohan Kadam 87, Darshan Nalkande 4/28) defeat Vidarbha 172/6 (20) (Atharva Taide 32, KC Cariappa 2/27) by 4 runs
Put to bat first, Karnataka openers Rohan Kadam and Manish Pandey were off to a dream start. A dropped catch of the former in the first over cost Vidarbha dearly. Both batters put up a 132-run partnership from 91 deliveries for the first wicket with Rohan scoring 87 (56) and Manish putting up a solid 54 (42). Lalit Yadav ended up getting both the openers. Things seemed to be going in Karnataka's favour till the 18th over where they were comfortably placed at 167/2.
Yash Thakur ended up getting the better of Karun Nair and kept it down to seven runs and a wicket in the penultimate over. However, the best was yet to come for Vidarbha as Darshan Nalkande again rose to the occasion with four consecutive wickets.
The likes of Aniruddha Joshi, Sharath BR, J Suchith and Abhinav Manohar were all back to the dugout after making guest appearances. Karnataka scored just one run and lost four wickets in the final over to finish at 176/7 in their 20 overs.
On the other hand, Atharva Taide opened his account with two boundaries and a six as Vidarbha posted 56/1 in the powerplay overs. Following his dismissal, the likes of Shubham Dubey, Akshay Wadkar and Jitesh Sharma tried to carry forward the run-chase but they couldn't extend their stay at the crease. The equation came down to 46 runs from the last four overs with Apoorv Wankhede and Akshay Karnewar at the crease.
KC Cariappa bowled a fantastic 17th over conceding just four runs from it. However, both batsmen began their hitting spree. With the help of three maximums and a boundary, Vidarbha brought it to 14 runs required from the final over.
Right-arm pacer Vidyadhar Patil kept his calm while defending the same and started off with the wicket of Karnewar. His brilliant change of pace kept the batsmen confused as they failed to get the boundaries. Karnataka ended up winning a humdinger of a contest by four runs.
Karnataka will now face Tamil Nadu in the final of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy this season. While Tamil Nadu are the defending champions, Karnataka were the title-holders in the 2018-19 as well as the 2019-20 season. The SMAT final will take place at the Arun Jaitley Stadium on 22nd November 2021 from 12 PM IST.