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SMAT 2022-23: Top 5 Impactful Players: Nitish Rana, Tilak Varma present decent case for themselves

SMAT 2022-23: Top 5 Impactful Players: Nitish Rana, Tilak Varma, Prithvi Shaw, Abhishek Sharma, Samarth Vyas make it to the list of impactful players so far in Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy 2022-23.

SMAT 2022-23_ Nitish Rana scored 307 runs and 11 wickets from seven innings for Delhi _ Walking Wicket (Images _ ©File Photo)
Nitish Rana has 307 runs & 11 wickets from 7 innings in SMAT (Images: ©File Photo)

Even though the Indian Premier League (IPL) has been one of the shining beacons for Indian domestic players to display their skills and talent before the world, they still need to perform well in the domestic T20 competition named Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy (SMAT) in order to earn a ticket for the IPL.

Besides the upcoming set of players, those players who suffer a dip in their form could also polish themselves playing in this domestic T20 tournament.

Let’s look at some of the impactful players who have changed the course of the game with their batting and bowling performances in the first two weeks of the ongoing SMAT 2022 which started at different venues across India on October 11.

Nitish Rana (Delhi) - 307 runs and 11 wickets

The Delhi captain was in decent touch in IPL 2022 for the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) scoring 361 runs in 14 games at a strike rate of 143.82, but the issue with him was lacking some big individual scores after getting his eyes in.

But in the ongoing Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy 2022, he has changed his style of play being one of the flexible members of the side; scoring crucial runs in the latter half of the innings besides finishing games have been shinning developments as regards Rana. The left-hander in his very second game of the season against Punjab at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur, played an unbelievable knock of 107 runs in just 61 balls with the help of nine boundaries and seven maximums.

He carried his form in the next game of the season before finishing the group stage with an outstanding innings of 61 in 31 deliveries against Tripura thanks to four boundaries and five maximums to carry Delhi to the quarter finals of the season. Besides scoring those truckloads of runs, he has also offered his side an extra cushion of bowling a few vital overs in all the phases of the innings.

Till now the second highest run-getter of SMAT 2022, Nitish Rana has scored 307 runs in seven innings at an average of 51.16 and strike rate of 143.45 besides recording 11 wickets in seven games at an economy of 7.10 and he is expected to add more runs going deep into the tournament.

SMAT 2022-23: Abhishek Sharma has 199 runs and 7 wickets from 7 innings in SMAT for Punjab _ Walking Wicket (Images ©BCCI_IPL)
Abhishek has 199 runs & 7 wickets from 7 innings in SMAT (Images ©BCCI/IPL)

Abhishek Sharma (Punjab) - 199 runs and seven scalps

The 22-year-old Punjab opener and a sensational future star for India, Abhishek Sharma performed fantastically in IPL 2022 with 426 runs in 14 games at a strike rate of 133.33 playing for the Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH). One of his strong zones was putting the opponents under serious pressure from the very first over.

Promoted as an opener for Punjab in SMAT 2022, he too acted almost in the same fashion. The one skill that he has added in this tournament has been bowling with the new ball in the powerplay and taking wickets without leaking too many runs. In the very first game against Hyderabad, he returned figures of 3/22 in four overs to gift his team a 59-run victory.

Speaking of his batting, Abhishek drilled an excellent unbeaten 54-run knock in 44 balls against Goa with the help of three boundaries and the same number of sixes at the Jaipuria Vidyalaya Ground in Jaipur. With 199 runs and seven wickets in the ongoing tournament so far, he has pushed Punjab to the pre-quarter finals stage.

SMAT 2022-23: Tilak Varma has scored 297 runs and taken two wickets from 7 innings for Hyderabad _Walking Wicket (Images ©BCCI_IPL)
Tilak Varma has 297 runs & 2 wickets from 7 innings in SMAT (Images ©BCCI/IPL)

Tilak Varma (Hyderabad) - 297 runs and two wickets

When Mumbai Indians (MI) picked Tilak Varma in the mega auction ahead of IPL 2022, there were few questions regarding his quality but he answered all of them with a straight bat, scoring 397 runs in 14 games at a strike rate of 131.20. In the ongoing SMAT 2022, Varma has carried Hyderabad throughout this season almost on his lone shoulders.

In the very first game, Hyderabad were at 0/2 after the third ball when Varma walked in at number four, blasting a 38-ball half century with the help of six boundaries and one solitary six. When his side was found limping at 23/2 in the fifth over against Puducherry, Varma again rescued them with a 41-ball 57 with one boundary and four maximums.

In their third game of the season, Varma registered another sensational knock, a 46-ball 62, that was arranged with six boundaries and couple of sixes. If that wasn’t enough then against Tripura, Varma coming at number three made his way to a fabulous 46-ball 67 with the help of seven boundaries and two maximums.

Even though Hyderabad tasted victory in just four out of seven games, batting at the lower order Varma has shown his talent being the fourth highest run-getter of the season so far with 297 runs in seven games at an average of 49.50 and strike rate of 136.23.

SMAT 2022-23_ Samarth Vyas scored 266 runs from five innings for Saurashtra_ Walking Wicket (Images _ ©BCCIDomestic_Twitter)
Samarth has scored 266 runs from 5 innings for Saurashtra (Images: ©BCCIDomestic/Twitter)

Samarth Vyas (Saurashtra) - 266 runs

Even though the name of Samarth Vyas from Saurashtra is still unknown to few cricketing fans going around the world, it won’t be too long before he announces himself on the big stage.

The number three batter for Saurashtra has scored 601 runs till now in 26 T20s at an average of 30.05 and strike rate of 150.62. In the ongoing SMAT 2022, he is scoring runs quite freely. In their second game of the season, Vyas cracked a 52-ball 97 against the Baroda attack consisting of Varun Aaron, Krunal Pandya, Lukman Meriwala; that 97-run knock was coloured with five boundaries and nine maximums.

He carried his form going into the very next game against Nagaland scoring another 97* in 51 balls with the help of seven boundaries and same number of sixes. The 26-year-old could be the solution for solving the top three riddle for several teams in the upcoming season of IPL.

With 266 runs in five innings at an average of 66.50 and strike rate of 183.44 with two half-centuries, Vyas has propelled Saurashtra to the pre qualifier stage where they will face Kerala on October 30 at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata.

SMAT 2022-23_ Prithvi Shaw has scored 285 runs from seven innings for Mumbai in SMAT so far_ Walking Wicket (Images _ ©VIJAY SONEJI)
Prithvi Shaw has 285 runs from 7 innings in SMAT (Images: ©VIJAY SONEJI)

Prithvi Shaw (Mumbai) - 285 runs

If one player has polished himself most in the last one year or so, then that’s Prithvi Shaw. With India’s main team in Australia for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2022, it was disheartening not to see Prithvi Shaw in India’s squad that faced South Africa in the home One Day International (ODI) and T20I series.

Shaw had a decent IPL 2022 for the Delhi Capitals (DC) scoring 283 runs in 10 innings at an average of 28.30 and a strike rate of 152.97 but there was noise that he wasn’t scoring runs at a quick pace. But perhaps with his performances in the ongoing SMAT 2022, he has blown away all those critics. He began this tournament with an excellent unbeaten 55 run knock in 34 deliveries against Mizoram before scoring 29 in 12 balls against Madhya Pradesh.

His best innings came in the game against Assam at the Saurashtra Cricket Association (SCA) Stadium in Rajkot where a ‘Shaw’ storm destroyed the opponent’s bowling attack; his whirlwind knock of 134 in just 61 balls with the help of 13 boundaries and nine sixes left the poor Assam bowlers no option but to be a part of that tremendous story, albeit on the wrong side.

With 285 runs in seven innings so far in this tournament at an average of 47.50 and strike rate of 191.27, Prithvi Shaw has shouldered Mumbai to the qualifying stage.

The Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy (SMAT) 2022 knock out fixtures will begin from October 30 with the pre qualifiers, when Punjab will take on Haryana, Kerala will face Saurashtra and Vidarbha will meet Chhattisgarh, while the final of the tournament will be played on November 5. All the games are expected to be played at different centres spread across Kolkata.


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