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Agarwal Shines as Karnataka Clinch Their Maiden Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy

Mayank Agarwal scored an unbeaten 57-ball 85 to help Karnataka win their first ever Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, beating Maharashtra by eight wickets in the final in Indore on Thursday (March 14).

Batting first, Maharashtra posted 155 for 4 with Naushad Shaikh top-scoring with 69. Karnataka had no trouble chasing the target in just 18.3 overs with Agarwal and opener Rohan Kadam (60 off 39) scoring half-centuries.

It was Karnataka’s 14th consecutive T20 win, the joint second-most for any team in the format.

The target was a tricky one considering the big occasion and the two-paced nature of the pitch. Karnataka started on the wrong note when BR Sharath was bowled by Samad Fallah, the left-arm pacer, for just two in the third over.

Maharashtra had a great chance to strike another major blow but Vishal Gite dropped Mayank Agarwal at point when he was on five. Satyajit Bacchav, the unfortunate bowler on the occasion, went on to concede 18 in the over to signal the shift in momentum. That missed chance would cost Maharashtra big as Agarwal settled down along with Rohan Kadam.

Both Kadam and Agarwal kept the run-rate up, racing to 52 for 1 within the Power Play. The left-right combination took Karnataka past 100 within 11 overs before Kadam was caught by sweeper cover off Divyang Himganekar in the 13th over.

By then, though, Karnataka needed only 50 off 47. Agarwal completed his half-century and opened up further with a few boundaries, fittingly finishing the game with a four.

Karnataka opted to bowl first and managed to keep Maharashtra quiet in the first few overs. Openers Ruturaj Gaekwad and Rahul Tripathi started sedately before the former slapped Abhimanyu Mithun to point to fall in the fifth over.

Vijay Zol was then stumped sharply by BR Sharath off left-arm spinner J Suchith. Zol had just lifted his back-foot by inches and an alert Sharath whipped off the bails. Captain Tripathi too fell soon, pulling KC Cariappa to long-on for a 32-ball 30.

Maharashtra were in trouble at 55 for 3 in the 10th over when Naushad Shaikh and Ankit Bawne got together. They stitched together 81 runs for the fourth wicket to resurrect the innings. Bawne was steady and played sheet anchor with 29 off 25 while Shaikh was the aggressor, remaining unbeaten on 69 off 41 balls to take the team past 150. However, Agarwal ensured it wouldn’t be enough.

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