Vijay Hazare Final, Live, Karnataka vs Tamil Nadu: Karnataka Off to Quick Start
Just a few days ago R Ashwin and Mayank Agarwal were sharing the same dressing room as India outclassed South Africa 3-0 in the Test series, but come Friday the duo will be up against each other as Tamil Nadu face off against Karnataka in the final of the Vijay Hazare Trophy in Bengaluru.
Both Ashwin and Agarwal turned out for their teams in the semi-finals as well, a day after completing the South Africa series.
Agarwal, along with an in-form troika of Manish Pandey, KL Rahul and Devdutt Padikal, will form the core of the Karnataka batting, which has been among the strongest units in the tournament so far.
Rahul and Padikal did well to almost complete a ten-wicket win in the semi-finals against Chhattisgarh, while Pandey has also been scoring important runs as well.
Thankfully for the Karnataka captain Pandey, the bowlers have been doing well too with the likes of Prasidh Krishna, Abhimanyu Mithun, K Gowtham and Shreyas Gopal all among the wickets, but will have quite a task stopping the Tamil Nadu batting which is equally strong and were given a jolt in the semi-finals against Gujarat.
For Tamil Nadu, Washington Sundar has the best batting average ahead of the final but Karnataka will be more worried about those above him in the lineup.
Dinesh Karthik, Murali Vijay, Vijay Shankar, Baba Aparajith, Abhinav Mukund and Shahrukh Khan have all shown the fight to stand up and deliver when the need arises. Shahrukh and Sundar were crucial to TN’s semi-final win after the more established names failed to deliver.
Karthik, who is looking to get back into the India T20 side, will however need the experienced heads to deliver on the big day.
Tamil Nadu will no doubt also have benefited from the addition of R Ashwin to the bowling unit, which already boasts of M Ashwin, M Mohammed and Krishnamoorthy Vignesh, all of whom have consistently delivered for Karthik.
The potential for an absolute classic encounter is very high given the presence of such high profile players on either side and the current form of both sides. And given that it is likely to boil down to who holds their nerve in a pressure cooker situation.