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Thursday, December 12, 2019

R Ashwin does a Tahir, a Mushfiqur, then almost a Dhoni: India spinner’s emotions light up Mushtaq Ali final

Ravichandran Ashwin did not have the standout batting or bowling figures in the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 Trophy final, but he was involved in key parts of it and his show of emotions was an important part of the close match.

Written by Dipankar Lahiri | Updated: December 5, 2019 1:53:42 am
Ravichandran Ashwin reacts after taking 2 wickets off 2 balls in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy final on Sunday (left); Ashwin reacts after hitting two consecutive fours in the last over.

Ravichandran Ashwin did not have the standout batting or bowling figures in the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 Trophy final – which Karnataka won by 1 run – on Sunday, but the Tamil Nadu spinner’s performance and the show of his emotions were a vital part of the thrilling final.

It was Ashwin who first turned the match on its head by taking the wickets of KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal off consecutive deliveries in the 5th over. He reacted by doing an Imran Tahir-esque clebration, running around the ground in delight. Manish Pandey would calmly play the hat-trick ball for a single down the ground, but Ashwin’s 5th over was exactly what the final needed to be brought to life – an India player showing his emotions in a domestic tournament’s final.

Karnataka would post 180/5 in their 20 overs, with Ashwin having finished with figures of 2/34.

Ashwin would next be called upon for his services with the bat – with Tamil Nadu needing 30 off 17 balls – as Vijay Shankar and Baba Aparajith’s heroics ensured we would be going down to the wire in the final.

With Tamil Nadu needing 13 to win off the last over, Ashwin was on strike to Krishnappa Gowtham. Vijay Shankar, on 43, was at the other end, with Ashwin having turned down his call for a double off the last ball of the 19th over.

Ashwin proceeded to smash two fours off Gowtham, then punching the air as the equation was brought down to 5 needed off 4 balls. The celebration would turn out to be premature though – like Mushfiqur Rahim’s celebration had been in 2016 vs India.

His helmet had been taken off for the last over, with Gowtham’s spin to deal with.

Shankar was run out off the penultimate ball.

With Tamil Nadu needing 3 to win off the last ball, Ashwin also took his leg guard off. With 2 needed to take the match to a Super Over, he wanted to be as unencumbered by equipment as possible.

How the last over played out:

However, Murugan Ashwin could not connect with the last ball and the two Ashwins could only scamper through for a single as Karnataka won by 1 run.

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