Tamil Nadu secured a second Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy title on Sunday when they defeated Baroda by 7 wickets in a one-sided final. After restricting Baroda to 120/9 in 20 overs, Tamil Nadu chased the target with two overs to spare.
The state has won both of its SMAT titles under the captaincy of Dinesh Karthik, and the Tamil Nadu captain was upbeat after the side put behind previous season's heartbreak to lift the title.
Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy: Tamil Nadu thrash Rajasthan by seven wickets, enter second successive final
The side had lost to Karnataka in the final of the 2019-20 edition of the tournament.
“It really hurt us last year, we lost by a whisker. This year we had our sights on the knockouts and then we got consistent. It's the sign of a good team,” Karthik said after the win.
Karthik also pointed out the progression of players from the Tamil Nadu side to the Indian team, and cited examples of T Natarajan and Washington Sundar.
“I think just the fact that there are players like Natarajan and Sundar in the Indian team, who were in this team last year, is the sign of a team doing well. I'm sure there are a few who'll go on from this team as well,” said the TN captain.
While Natarajan made his debut in all the three formats in the recently-concluded tour of Australia, Sundar remains a key part of India's T20I setup. He also made his debut in Tests in the final match of the Australia series in Brisbane.
Earlier, Tamil Nadu's spinners made easy work of Baroda batsmen as the side was reduced to 36/6 in 8.5 overs, with Manimaran Siddarth, who was playing his first game of the tournament, taking three wickets in his first spell.
However, Vishnu Solanki (49) and Atit Sheth (29) steered Baroda past trouble, while Bhargav Bhatt (12* off 5 deliveries) played a handy cameo to take Baroda's score past the 100-run mark.
In the chase, TN started cautiously but a low target allowed their batsmen to bide time on the crease, eventually chasing the score in 18 overs.