A bolt from the blue from Darshan Nalkande stunted the growth of Karnataka in the semi-final of the 2021 Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, as the seamer struck four times off four consecutive deliveries in the final over, giving the opposition an almighty scare. 

The 23-year-old continued his purple patch in the 2021 Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, as he followed up with his career best five-wicket haul against Arunachal Pradesh with another stellar performance in the semi-finals. Playing against the 2020 champions Karnataka, Nalkande brought his best to the table as he became just the second Indian bowler after Abhimanyu Mithun to pick up a double hat-trick in domestic cricket. 

Bowling the final over of the first innings, the Punjab Kings pacer arrested the scoring rate as picked up four wickets of four consecutive deliveries to ensure the batting side ended at a score of 176. Nalkande picked up the wickets of Aniruddha Joshi, wicketkeeper Sharath Bharat, J Suchith and Abhinav Manohar. The pacer ended with figures of 4/28, putting Vidarbha in a good position to make it to the finals. 

However, that wasn’t to be for Vidarbha as they fell short by four runs as Karnataka managed to pull a rabbit out of the hat to pull through in the game. They will now face Tamil Nadu in the finals on Monday at the Arun Jaitley Stadium in Delhi. 

Nalkande though can reflect on a memorable 2021 Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy where he was the leading wicket-taker for his team. The Vidarbha pacer picked up 13 wickets in the competition, all while maintaining an economy rate below six. 

Ashwin and Shahrukh through to finals

Earlier in the day, Murugan Ashwin and Shahrukh Khan were part of a victorious Tamil Nadu team who made it to the finals of the 2021 Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. Tamil Nadu picked up a comprehensive eight wicket victory over Hyderabad, augmenting their reputation as a feared white ball domestic team. 

While Shahrukh didn’t get a chance to bat, Murugan made his mark with ball in hand as he picked up two wickets while conceding just 13 runs in his four overs. Murugan picked up the wickets of Bavanaka Sandeep and Chama Milind as Hyderabad folded for a paltry score of 90.