Dinesh Karthik-led Tamil Nadu clinched their second national T20 championship as they beat Baroda by seven wickets in the final of Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 Trophy in Ahmedabad on Sunday.
Opting to field first on a slow, turning pitch at the refurbished Motera Stadium, TN managed to restrict Baroda to 120/9. Kedar Devdhar’s side were in serious trouble at 36/6 but Vishnu Solanki led their recovery with a superb 49 as they managed to post a decent total on board. M Siddharth, playing his first match of the tournament, was the star with superb figures of 4/20 in his four overs.
Siddharth used the pitch to his advantage by varying the pace of his deliveries and also using the crease well to create awkward angles for the batsmen.
Put into bat on a Sardar Patel Stadium track that offered both turn and bounce, Baroda lost left-handed opener Ninad Rathva (1) early as the move to start with spinners from both the ends paid off for Tamil Nadu.
Rathva was caught by KB Arun Karthik off offie Baba Aparajith (1/16). Aparajith and left-arm spinner R Sai Kishore (0/11) kept things tight as Baroda was 11/1 after three overs.
Skipper Kedar Devdhar (16), who had hammered three boundaries, could not convert his starts and gave a sitter to Narayan Jagadeesan at cover as the wiry Siddharth picked up his first wicket.
In the second innings, with the pitch easing out, TN hardly stuttered in the run-chase as they closed things out in 18 overs with the loss of three wickets.
Chasing 121 for a win, Tamil Nadu lost opener Narayan Jagadeesan (14) early as pacer Lukman Meriwala (1/34) picked up the first wicket, with the opposition at 26/1.
But Nishaanth (35; 3×4; 1×6) continued playing his shots and was joined by Baba Aparajith (29 not out off 35 balls) as Tamil Nadu reached 61/1 after 10 overs.
However, medium-pacer Babashafi Pathan removed Nishaanth in the 12th over, as he holed out in the deep, to reduce TN to 67/2 and give Baroda a glimmer of hope.
Skipper Dinesh Karthik played his part to perfection with a 16-ball 22 but perished when his side needed 20 runs off 23 balls.
Aparajith and Shahrukh Khan (18 not out off 7 balls; 2×4; 1×6) then took TN home. Shahrukh, fittingly, finished the game with a boundary.
It was the third time Dinesh Karthik was leading TN in the national T20 final. TN are now the joint-highest in the honours list, joining Baroda, Karnataka and Gujarat with two titles each.