Tamil Nadu produced an impressive batting display after left-arm spinner Manimaran Siddarth's four-wicket haul as they lifted the coveted Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 Trophy after defeating Baroda by seven wickets in the final, in Ahmedabad, on Sunday.
This was Tamil Nadu's second Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy triumph, after winning their first title way back in 2006-07. Baroda, who had won the title twice in the past -- in 2011-12 and 2013-14 -- ended runners-up this time.
Siddharth (4/20) spun his web around the Baroda batsmen to restrict them to a below-par 120/9 in their 20 overs before Tamil Nadu overhauled the target in 18 overs. Opener C Hari Nishaanth top-scored with 35, hitting three fours and a six, as he put on 41 runs for the second wicket Baba Aparajith (29 not out), after Tamil Nadu had lost an early wicket.
Chasing 121 for a win, Tamil Nadu lost opener Narayan Jagadeesan (14) early as pacer Lukman Meriwala (1/34) picked up the first wicket.
But Nishaanth (35) continued playing his shots and was joined by Baba Aparajith (29 not out) as Tamil Nadu reached 61/1 after 10 overs.
However, medium-pacer Babashafi Pathan removed Nishaanth in the 12th over, as he holed out in the deep, to reduce TN to 67/2 and give Baroda a glimmer of hope.
Skipper Dinesh Karthik played his part to perfection with a 16-ball 22 but perished when his side needed 20 runs off 23 balls.
Aparajith and Shahrukh Khan (18 not out off 7 balls) avoided some lata drama as they took TN home with two overs to spare.
Earlier, Siddharth's brilliant bowling upfront enabled TN to restrict Baroda to 120/9 on a difficult track.
It was largely due to the 58-run seventh wicket stand between Vishnu Solanki (49 off 55 balls) and Atit Sheth (29 off 30 balls) which helped Baroda rally after being reduced to 36/6 at one stage.
Siddharth used the pitch to his advantage by varying the pace of his deliveries and also using the crease well to create awkward angles for the batsmen.
Put into bat on a Sardar Patel Stadium track that offered both turn and bounce, Baroda lost left-handed opener Ninad Rathva (1) early as the move to start with spinners from both the ends paid off for Tamil Nadu.
Rathva was caught by KB Arun Karthik off offie Baba Aparajith (1/16). Aparajith and left-arm spinner R Sai Kishore (0/11) kept things tight in the early overs
Skipper Kedar Devdhar (16), who had hammered three boundaries, could not convert his starts and gave a sitter to Narayan Jagadeesan at cover as the wiry Siddharth picked up his first wicket.
Baroda 120/9 (Vishnu Solanki 49, Atit Sheth 29; M Siddharth 4/20) lost to Tamil Nadu 123/3 (C Hari Nishaanth 35, Baba Aparajith 29 not out) by 7 wickets.