The Indian domestic season is up and running and both the premier white-ball tournaments have come to an end. Karnataka were the winners in both the Vijay Hazare and the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. In fact, it was their second Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy on the bounce.
There were multiple stars who did well and there are other youngsters who impressed as well. A few Indian internationals also took part and they had their moments too. Thus, with the premier domestic T20 tournament coming to an end, here we list out an XI. This is not a regular best XI from the tournament. It is one that can beat the current IPL champions, Mumbai Indians (MI).
Mumbai Indians boast of a strong unit. The likes of Rohit Sharma, Kieron Pollard, the Pandya brothers, Suryakumar Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah and Lasith Malinga form the core of the side.
Thus, we form the best XI from the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy that can topple MI:
There is absolutely no doubt that Devdutt Padikkal will be one of the first names on the team sheet. The Karnataka opener has had a fabulous season so far. He has been Karnataka’s best batsman across the white-ball season.
He finished the Vijay Hazare Trophy with 609 runs at an average of 67.66. The left-hander was the highest run-getter and he even scored five fifties and a couple of hundreds. Padikkal continued his rich vein of form in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy as well. He topped the run charts once again and scored 160 more runs than the second-placed Ruturaj Gaikwad.
Padikkal amassed 580 runs at an average of 64.44 and a strike-rate of 175.75. Invariably, he gave Karnataka solid starts and set the platform at the top of the order. He has been one of the reasons for Karnataka’s success this season.
Prithvi Shaw has had a rough last 12 months or so. He injured himself in Australia and was ruled out of the tour. He had an up and down IPL and then was banned for six months for a doping violation. However, he bounced back on the stage in the best way possible.
The Mumbai youngster returned to competitive cricket for the first time since the IPL. In his first game, Shaw scored 63 and showed that he hasn’t lost out on form. He played four more games and struck a couple more half-centuries. In the other two games, he scored 30 each.
The 20-year-old finished the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy with 240 runs in five innings. Moreover, these runs came at a strike-rate of 170.21. Hence, Shaw can emerge to be a destroyer at the top and can take the attack to the opposition early on.
Here is another opener but KL Rahul has shown that he can bat anywhere in the order. In fact, both his T20 international tons haven’t come at the top. One of them came at 3 and another at 4. Hence, he is more than capable of batting at 3 in a team that is to face the IPL champions.
Rahul has been sidelined from the Test team due to poor form and has largely been warming the benches in the shorter formats with Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma opening the innings. Thus, he has got back to domestic cricket and scored a lot of runs. In the Vijay Hazare Trophy, he scored 598 runs at an average of 66.44. Meanwhile, in the Syed Mushtaq Ali, Rahul has justified why he should be a regular member in India’s T20 side.
The 27-year-old scored 313 runs at a strike-rate of 155.72 in the T20 tournament. He was striking the ball beautifully and formed a potent opening pair with Devdutt Padikkal.
Manish Pandey (Captain)
For some reason, Manish Pandey hasn’t been able to replicate his domestic form at the international stage. There are very limited opportunities that he gets and Pandey hasn’t been able to cash in. However, he has always exhibited some great form in domestic cricket.
He had a fabulous Vijay Hazare Trophy where he scored 525 runs and continued his form in the premier T20 tournament as well. In the Syed Mushtaq Ali, Pandey accumulated 314 runs in the entire tournament. He had an average of 78.50 and a strike-rate of 164.39.
Moreover, he was Karnataka’s crisis man as well. The ton he scored (129 not out) came after his team lost an early wicket. He even scored a 45-ball 60 in the final. Hence, Pandey is a man for the big occasions and will also be the captain of this side.
Virat Singh is a relatively unknown name in the Indian domestic circles. However, he’s come up the ranks in this season and is being seen as a potential middle-order option by IPL teams. The Jharkhand left-hander has been excellent in white-ball cricket this season.
He scored 335 runs at an average of 83.75 in the Vijay Hazare Trophy and was the leading run-getter for Jharkhand. The story has been no different in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy either. He has been his side’s premier run-getter. Virat made 343 runs at an average of 57.16 and a strike-rate of 142.32.
He’s had a very productive season so far. Moreover, he has the ability to play the big shots and can don the finisher’s role as well. Apart from Padikkal, he is the only uncapped player in this top six.
Dinesh Karthik (wicket-keeper)
It’s not been a season where Dinesh Karthik has hogged the limelight and has scored a lot of runs. But he has been Tamil Nadu’s crisis man. The wicket-keeper batsman has scored runs when his team has been in trouble and has bailed them out on multiple occasions.
Having a hefty amount of international experience under his belt, Karthik can play a vital role in the side. He had a prolific time in the Vijay Hazare Trophy where he scored 418 runs at a strike-rate of 121.15.
Karthik amassed 301 runs in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy but most of the runs came at the start of the tournament. He lost out on some form towards the end but he’s hitting the ball really well and at 6, he will be the finisher in this side.
Harshal Patel has had a fantastic tournament in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. Be it runs or wickets, Patel has it all. He features in both the top five run-getters and top five wicket-takers list as well.
The Haryana all-rounder batted in the top order for the most part of the tournament. He scored 374 runs at an average of 31.16. It was his strike-rate of 165.48 that made a telling impact. Meanwhile, he was at his best with the ball too.
In 12 games, the pace-bowling all-rounder took 19 wickets at an average of 15.94. He was striking once every 13 deliveries as well. He even had a very good economy of 7.04. Thus, he will be this team’s premier all-rounder.
A leg-spinner has become necessary in almost every white-ball team. Teams don’t mind going for a few runs at the expense of wickets in the middle overs. Shreyas Gopal has been one of the underrated cricketers going around in the domestic circuit and he will be the leg-spinner in this line-up.
The Karnataka leg-spinner has been in fine form in this season as well. He picked up 19 wickets at an average of 15.00 in the Syed Mushtaq Ali tournament. He had an economy of 6.78 and a strike-rate of 13.2. In fact, Gopal even picked up a fifer.
Moreover, he can be very handy with the bat lower down the order too. The all-rounder has the ability to score quick runs and can prove to be a real game-changer as well.
Deepak Chahar has had a phenomenal last one month. He led India’s pace attack in the T20I series against Bangladesh and even registered best-ever figures in a T20I as well, leading the ‘Men in Blue’ to a series win. After that, he’s gone back to domestic cricket and picked up wickets there as well.
In the seven games he played in the Syed Mushtaq Ali, Chahar picked up 12 wickets. His average (13.25), economy (6.91) and strike-rate (11.5) were all good as well. He conceded more than 30 in only one game and that was against Uttar Pradesh but he even picked up three wickets in that game.
Thus, Chahar will be the premier pacer in this line-up to face the IPL Champions. He can be very effective with both the new and old ball. He’s improved his death bowling quite a bit which has added a different edge to his bowling.
Sai Kishore is one of the names that has been floating around in the domestic circuit this season. The Tamil Nadu spinner has performed consistently in both the 50-over and T20 formats. He’s been economical and has also picked up wickets regularly.
In the Vijay Hazare, he took 11 wickets but he’s come into his own in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. The left-arm spinner has picked up 20 wickets and ended the tournament as the leading wicket-taker.
Sai Kishore had an average of 10.40 and kept things very tight (he had an economy rate of 4.63). Thus, he will be the other spinner alongside Shreyas Gopal and the only finger spinner in the line-up.
Earlier this year, Mohammed Siraj was on the fringes of the Indian white-ball teams. He even made his ODI debut earlier this year but some indifferent form has seen him fall off the radar. However, he has started this season on a very good note.
In the Vijay Hazare Trophy, the Hyderabad pacer took 12 wickets at an average of 17.00. Moreover, he had an economy of 3.84 as well. In the premier Indian domestic T20 tournament, Siraj was among the top 10 wicket-takers list. He took 13 wickets from seven games.
The 25-year-old was the leader of the attack for Hyderabad and performed really well. He was Hyderabad’s leading wicket-taker with 13 wickets and struck once every two overs in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. He didn’t concede a lot of runs either. Thus, he will be the second fast bowler in this line-up.
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