Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy: Day 1 - Snippets

While the buzz is on in India for tomorrow's clash against Pakistan in the ICC Champions Trophy, the inaugural season of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy - also known as the "100% desi" (no franchises, no foreign exports) Indian Domestic T20 Championship - quietly got underway today. Now how many of you knew that such a tournament existed? There were 3 games, all South Zone games, that were played on the opening day. While the mainstream media is busy covering the Champions Trophy, I'm gonna try and bring in some snippets from the SMA Trophy

Game 1: Andhra vs Hyderabad
Result: Hyderabad won by 10 runs.

Hyderabad's Innings: Hyderabad was asked to bat first and made 176/5. Ambati Rayudu, playing in his first "recognized" T20 game after leaving ICL, scored 53 off 34 balls. Seems like he hasn't been signed by any IPL team yet - he is too classy a player to not to be signed yet. Wicket-Keeper Abhinav Kumar made a better than 2runs-a-ball half century. When was the last time you came across a wicket-keeper who couldn't bat? Paidikalva Vijay Kumar, who made a fairly decent impression for Deccan Chargers in their dismal IPL-1 campaign, was taken to the cleaners and ended up with none for 45 off his 4 overs.

Andhra's Innings: Venu Rao made no score while his kid brother Gnani Rao made 71 off 41. For Hyderabad - Arjun, Absolem and Pragyan bowled well for a combined returns of 5 for 73 off their 12 overs.

Game 2: Kerala vs Tamil Nadu
Result: Tamil Nadu won by 49 runs

Tamil Nadu's Innings: Murali Vijay won the toss and elected to bat. It is interesting that Badri isn't the captain. R Satish who captained the Chennai Super Kings in the ICL would have been another choice to lead in this form of the game. Vijay made 54. He has been a bit off-color after his impressive international test debut. He needs to have a good domestic season to keep the national selectors interested in him. Arun Karthik scored a half-century as well (btw, did you guys know that Arun made his List-A debut playing for Badureliya Sports Club in the SriLankan Domestic League). Sreesanth, fresh off a reasonably successful stint with Warwickshire ended up giving away 37 off his 3 overs.

Kerala's Innings: The Kerala batsmen were never really in the chase. R Ashwin's off-spin yielded 3/16. Balaji was his usual economical self.

Game 3: Goa vs Karnataka
Result: Goa won by 10 runs (first real upset of the tournament)

Goa's innings: Goa won the toss. Swapnil Asnodkar was his merry self at the top of the order and raked up 71 off 48 balls. S Sriram, back from a stint with the ICL made 20 off 16. Anil Kumble who is using this tournament as a practice-run for the Champions league was fairly expensive - going at about 10 an over off his full quota. Stuart Binny ended up with impressive figures of 2/26. He is one player who really benefited from playing in the ICL. His stock his risen considerably after his impressive contributions for the Hyderabad Heroes.

Karnataka's innings: After having just played the KPL, you would think that Karnataka should have easily chased down the target. Young Manish Pandey was the top-scorer with 44. Uthappa, coming in at No.4 hit a couple of sixes, but got out in the 16th over with still 50 runs more to get. In the end, they fell short by 10 runs.

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