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Toss update: Tamil Nadu won the toss and opted to bowl first.
Preview: Last year’s runners-up Tamil Nadu, led by the experienced Dinesh Karthik, will hope to go one better when they take on a buoyant Baroda in the final of the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 tournament at Ahmedabad’s Sardar Patel Stadium on Sunday.
Both Tamil Nadu and Baroda topped their respective groups with 20 points each, and most importantly, without losing a single game, but the side from south India start as favourites thanks to their perfect blend of youth and experience in their squad. TN’s N Jagadeeshan leads the tournament’s batting charts with 350 runs (Strike rate of 142) from seven matches this season, with four half-centuries while Baroda stand-in skipper Kedar Devdhar is behind him in second spot with 333 runs.
Murugan Ashwin is Tamil Nadu’s leading wicket-taker with 10 scalps, while for Baroda it is Lukman Meriwala with 14 wickets.
Despite a strike-rate of 161, Dinesh Karthik has not had the best of his tournaments, scoring just 161 runs from seven games. He is yet to score even a half-century, but will be looking to deliver at the right time for his team.
Baroda meanwhile, hit by a controversy just before start of the tournament when all-rounder Deepak Hooda stormed out of the team camp on the eve of the tournament-opener alleging ‘misbehaviour’ from skipper Krunal Pandya. Later, on 22 January, Hooda was suspended for the remainder of the domestic season for bringing ‘disrespect to the game’.
Krunal Pandya, meanwhile, suffered a tragic personal loss when his father passed away on 16 January, and had to leave the Mushtaq Ali bio-bubble to mourn his death.
However, Baroda were flying high in the tournament, beating the likes of Maharashtra and Gujarat as they reached the quarter-final. They then went onto beat Haryana and Punjab in the quarter-final and semi-final respectively.
Tamil Nadu, meanwhile, had it easy in most of their games, beating the likes of Hyderabad and Bengal in the group stage, while they overcame Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan in the quarter-final and semi-final respectively.
Tamil Nadu: Dinesh Karthik(Captain), Hari Nishanth, N Jagadeesan, Baba Aparajith, Shahrukh Khan, Arun Karthik, Sonu Yadav, M Mohammed, Murugan Ashwin, Manimaran Siddharth, R Sai Kishore.
Baroda: Kedar Devdhar(Captain), Vishnu Solanki, Karthik Kakade, Atit Sheth, Ninad Rathva, Smit Patel, Bhanu Pania, Babashafi Pathan, Abhimanyu Rajput, Bhargav Bhatt, Lukman Meriwala.
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