BENGALURU: The Vijay Hazare Trophy final between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu at Chinnaswamy Stadium on Friday has all the ingredients to be a cracker of a contest. Both teams have their strongest squads possible, especially after the inclusion of Mayank Agarwal (Karnataka) and R Ashwin (Tamil Nadu) from the semifinal, which just makes the encounter even more bigger.
Karnataka and Tamil Nadu have good track record in the domestic one-day event. The latter are the most successful team in tournament history, taking home the prestigious title five times while the former has clinched it thrice in the last six seasons. There is more to than just the title as the rivalry in the Southern Derby adds another motivational factor for the players.
“We have always enjoyed the kind of rivalry that is there with Karnataka. It has always been fun, but hard cricket and same kind of cricket is expected in the final as well. Neither side will be give up easily, which is good for the game at the end of the day,” said Tamil Nadu coach D Vasu.
There is hardly anything to choose between the two teams as both are evenly balanced. But Manish Pandey and his men might have a slight edge over their rivals, if any, after having played seven of their nine matches this season, compared to Tamil Nadu’s zero, at the Chinnaswamy.
Besides the familiar conditions, Karnataka’s batting unit has been in majestic form. They have three players — Devdutt Padikkal (598 runs), KL Rahul (546) and Manish Pandey (525) — in the top five list of highest run-scorers in the tournament. Dinesh Karthik’s men have already made plans to upset their quality strokemakers.
“We have a plan for all these guys. Our captain, video analyst and the support staff are working to see how we can counter them. If we have two good teams playing, with a lot of brilliant cricketers in the mix, it should be a good final,” said Vasu, who is proud with the way his batsmen have played in the competition.
The beauty about Tamil Nadu is the sheer presence of genuine match winners in their team. Their top five comprising Abhinav Mukund, Murali Vijay, Baba Aparajith, Karthik and Vijay Shankar have steered their team towards victory more than once. Throw Washington Sundar and Shahrukh Khan in the mix, they have it in them to outscore any team as witnessed in the group stages.
However, in the quarterfinals and semis, their top-order was under constant pressure, reduced to 104/4 and 96/5 by Punjab and Gujarat respectively. “That happens in cricket. I know they will come good this game and we have two class openers (Mukund and Vijay ) and a solid batting line-up. Even if we lose early wickets, we have the depth to counter anything,” Vasu said.
Tamil Nadu and Karnataka will renew their perennial rivalry in the Vijay Hazare Trophy final on Friday...
Clash of batting titans
Batsmen have been major catalysts for both. Half of the top-10 run-getters of this season are from the two sides.Bowlers chipping in
Karnataka’s pacers have been impressive, taking wickets in different stages. For TN, the story has been on similar lines.