Defending champion TN faces Karnataka in Southern derby for Syed Mushtaq Ali title
And for that to happen, their opener Rohan Kadam, would need to come up with another big knock, like the one he played in the semi-final against Vidarbha.
The team would also be hoping that their middle-order clicks, as inconsistency has been an issue. Karun Nair has not been among the runs and he would like to make his presence felt.
However, Karnataka would worry more about their bowling attack, especially the pace unit comprising Vidyadhar Patil (4 wickets so far), V Vyshak (7 wkts) and M B Darshan (6 wkts). It is a rather inexperienced trio but they have done well under the circumstances and carried the team into the finale. They will have their role cut out in the summit clash against a formidable TN batting unit.
Though Karnataka will miss the experience and guile of K Gowtham (7 wickets) owing to his selection for the India 'A' team, the spin duo of KC Cariappa (10 wickets) and J Suchith (6 wkts) will be crucial to the team's prospects and their eight overs could have a bearing on the outcome.
Tamil Nadu, on the other hand, have been in good form in the tournament. It has been a team performance thus far with different players contributing at various stages. Yet, a lot would depend on the start provided by the dynamic duo of N Jagadeesan (163 runs, 1 fifty) and C Hari Nishaanth (177) and how newbie B Sai Sudharsan (173 runs) can build on it. Skipper Vijay Shankar leads the run-scoring charts for TN with 181 (1 fifty, 14 boundaries and 8 sixes from five matches). He can turn a match around with his batting abilities alone and will look to unleash some big ones to help the team defend the title.
Also, the power-hitting of M Shahrukh Khan has come in handy for the team at times and he will be one to watch out if the top-order fails to fire.
The team will be sweating over the availability of left-arm pacer T Natarajan, who missed the last two matches owing to a niggle. However, Sandeep Warrier and P Saravana Kumar, who grabbed a fifer in the semifinal win over Hyderabad, have done a good job while the spinners -- R Sai Kishore, M Ashwin, and R Sanjay Yadav -- have been superb, containing the scoring and also picking up wickets. Tamil Nadu and Karnataka have been involved in several interesting battles in the past and Monday's finale promises to be another one in that list. Vijay Shankar and Co will be aware that the team's last win over their opponent in this tournament came in 2017 and they will be keen to set the record straight.
The match starts at Noon.
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