Home Cricket News Mushtaq Ali T20: Revenge on Karnataka’s mind against Punjab | Cricket News

Mushtaq Ali T20: Revenge on Karnataka’s mind against Punjab | Cricket News

Revenge will be on defending champions Karnataka’s mind as they take on an in-form Punjab in the quarterfinals of the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 tournament at the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Stadium in Ahmedabad on Tuesday afternoon. Clubbed in Group A, Punjab had left Karnataka battered and bruised in their league encounter with a nine-wicket win.
Karnataka coach Yere Goud was clear the team did not carry the scars from the league defeat to Punjab. “This is altogether a different stage. Knockout games bring their own challenges. Also, we are playing on a different surface and in different conditions. It’s a fresh contest and whoever executes their skills better will go through,” he said.
That said, given Karnataka’s inconsistent form in the tournament thus far, the holders have a mountain to climb against the unconquered team, to keep their title hopes alive.
Karnataka’s batting is in a state of disarray with just two players – top-scorer Devdutt Padikkal (5 matches; 207 runs) and Aniruddha Joshi — scoring a half-century each. The former’s unbeaten 99 against Tripura is the highest individual score for the team.
In a majority of their four league wins, Karnataka have huffed and puffed to cross the finishing line. The Karun Nair-led team does not lack in talent but a bulk of its batsmen, including skipper Nair, seem woefully out of sorts. Barring Padikkal and Joshi (133 runs) none of the batsmen have breached the three-figure individual tally in the league.
The knockout contest presents them with an opportunity to redeem themselves and reinforce faith in the bench strength in the absence of the big three – Manish Pandey, KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal. The wicketkeeper’s role is up for debate with rookie KL Shrijith, after an unbeaten 48 on debut, has scored 11 runs in four matches. Given it’s a crunch match, the team management could be tempted to bring in BR Sharath.
Karnataka batsmen will be up against one of the best bowling attacks in the competition. While Siddharth Kaul is the pace spearhead, young left-arm pacer Arshdeep Singh is a tough customer. Leggie Mayank Markande and left-arm spinner Harpreet Brar will lead the competitive spin department.
For Karnataka, the spin department may not see much change with K Gowtham, who has been picked as a net bowler for India’s home series against England, unavailable. This leaves Shreyas Gopal, J Suchith and Pravin Dubey in the mix. Among pacers barring Abhimanyu Mithun and Prasidh Krishna, all the others have been rotated and they will have to come up with their ‘A’ game to counter the form of the Punjab batsmen, especially Prabhsimran Singh and Abhishek Sharma.
The pitch at the new stadium makes the contest even for both the teams making their maiden appearance at the venue.

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