Tamil Nadu have played final of consecutive three editions of SMAT and successfully defended their Syed Mushtaq Ali title this year.
After the conclusion of IPL in October 2021, India’s domestic T20 trophy known as Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy started on November 4, around the same time when ICC T20 World Cup 2021 was played in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
In Delhi, Tamil Nadu vanquished Karnataka on the last ball of the tournament final to bag the domestic T20 title. With this win, they have won back-to-back T20 titles now. Altogether, Tamil Nadu became champions of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy third time, which is a record for any state team of India.
What makes Tamil Nadu an unbeatable side?
Tamil Nadu are one of the top teams in recent years in T20 cricket. They played the final of consecutive three editions of the domestic T20 tournament. Even they bagged such huge success without any experienced players like Dinesh Karthik, Ravichandran Ashwin, Murali Vijay, Abhinav Mukund, Baba Aparajith and Washington Sundar in their side.
This success is owed to the vast amount of new talent in Tamil Nadu cricket. Players like Sai Kishore, Shahrukh Khan, T Natarajan, C Hari Nishaanth, Vijay Shankar, Narayan Jagadeesan made up the core of the Tamil Nadu side in the last three years. Even as many veteran players were not available in many games of the tournament, youngsters stepped up on the big stage. Youngsters like M Siddharth, Ganga Sridhar Raju, Vivek Raj, P Saravana Kumar and R Silambarasan filled up the void in absence of regular players.
Tamil Nadu Premier League – Renaissance of Tamil Nadu T20 Cricket
New players came up through the ranks on the horizon of Tamil Nadu cricket due to the popular Tamil Nadu Premier League (TNPL). Narayan Jagadeesan is one of the most successful players of TNPL, whereas C Hari Nishaanth, B Sai Sudharsan, Ganga Sridhar Raju, Vivek Raj, P Saravana Kumar are finds of one of the strongest leagues in domestic cricket.
P Saravana Kumar was the highest wicket-taker (13) of TNPL 2021 whereas Hari Nishaanth (368) and Sai Sudharsan (358) were top runs-scorers in the tournament. TNPL became the nursery of new T20 players in recent times, which proved to be a boon for Tamil Nadu. These young talents of Tamil Nadu proved their mettle to help their state win the T20 title. Let’s discuss some of the top performers here.
Narayan Jagadeesan is a promising young Indian wicketkeeper batter. He is an integral part of the Tamil Nadu team, also he is in the squad of Chennai Super Kings in IPL. The 25-year-old player got very few chances in IPL, but he is a proven player at the first-class level.
Jagadeesan smashed a match-winning knock of 41 runs in the final of Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy 2021 against Karnataka. He amassed 204 runs in eight matches in the tournament.
Vijay Shankar is a pace-bowling all-rounder, who represented India at the international level. He didn’t play the final of Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, though Shankar accumulated 199 runs with a staggering average of 66.33 and a decent strike rate of 130.92 in the whole tournament. Also, he made a significant contribution (210 runs and 6 wickets) in the previous edition of the Syed Mushtaq Ali trophy, to help his side to win the tournament.
M Shahrukh Khan
Tamil Nadu batter Shahrukh Khan is a hard-hitting batter, who can bowl decent off-breaks. The right-handed batter was the hero of the tournament finals against Karnataka. He hammered a towering six on the final ball to help his side clinch the trophy. He scored an unbeaten match-winning knock of 33 runs in just 15 balls with the help of one boundary and three humongous sixes.
Also, he accumulated 101 runs in the tournament with an average of 33.6 and an astonishing strike rate of 157.81.
R Sai Kishore
R Sai Kishore is the premier spin bowling all-rounder of Tamil Nadu. He is also part of Chennai Super Kings in IPL. The spin bowling all-rounder scalped three wickets in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy 2020-21 finals against Karnataka, conceding only 12 runs in four overs.
He was the most successful bowler for Tamil Nadu in the tournament. The 25-year-old all-rounder bagged 10 wickets in eight matches in the tournament. His economy reads a frugal 6.06 rpo in the tournament.
Also, the left-arm spinner was the highest wicket-taker in the previous edition of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, which was also won by Tamil Nadu. He has bagged 20 wickets in just 12 matches in the previous edition of the tournament. Undoubtedly, he was the chief architect behind the recent two T20 titles of Tamil Nadu.
C Hari Nishaanth and B Sai Sudharsan
B Sai Sudharsan piled up 182 runs in seven matches of Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy 2021 whereas C Hari Nishaanth amassed 200 runs in eight games of the tournament. Both these youngsters are finds of TNPL, who top-scored in the recent edition of TNPL. Both these players stepped up in the scenario of unavailability of veteran players in the Tamil Nadu side.
Also, experienced players like Dinesh Karthik and Washington Sundar had contributed to Tamil Nadu’s win in the previous edition of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy.