A rip-roaring Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy ended with an edge-of-the-seat thriller as defending champions Karnataka beat Tamil Nadu by one run in Surat. Sent into bat, Karnataka made a challenging 180 for five, riding on skipper Manish Pandey's 45-ball unbeaten 60 and useful contribution from Rohan Kadam (35), Devdutt Padikkal (32) and KL Rahul (22).
As the successful tournament draws to close, we look at five emerging stars who may become household names, come IPL auction:
T20s: 20, Runs: 794, Avg: 49.62, SR: 130.37, 50s: 8
One player who undoubtedly deserves an IPL contract is Karnataka's Rohan Kadam. The Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy was held after the IPL auction last year and Kadam, who had a sensational tournament, suffered because there was no selector or scout watching his batting. He finished the tournament as the highest run-scorer with 536 runs in 12 innings while striking at a rate close to 130.
Kadam now has two back-to-back trophies with Karnataka in the domestic 20-over competition after Sunday's title win. He couldn't turn up for a trials with the Mumbai Indians earlier this year because it clashes with the Vijay Hazare Trophy knockouts. But the scouts were in attendance as he went about showcasing his abilities in this year's T20 competition. With 258 runs including three telling half-centuries in this year's Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, Kadam was among Karnataka's standout batsmen.
Opening the innings against Uttarakhand, Kadam made a 55-ball 67 in a run-chase of 133 to kickstart his tournament. He followed it up with another half-century against Baroda from the top of the order. But it was in a middle-order role that he gained more attention. With KL Rahul and Devdutt Padikkal opening, Kadam seamlessly adapted to the middle-order and made a stunning 47-ball 71 against Mumbai, a knock that came after he walked in at 19/3. Though Karnataka lost the game, Kadam gained massive attention. In the finals, he again shone with a late cameo with Karnataka seeking company for Manish Pandey. Capable of switching from anchor to aggressor, Kadam is a terrific T20 player and should be eyed by quite a few IPL franchises this time around.
Franchises which could be interested in him: Royal Challengers Bangalore, Mumbai Indians, Kolkata Knight Riders
T20s: 27, Wickets: 33, Avg: 18.69, Eco: 6.24
A standout left-arm pacer in the domestic circuit, Kalaria has made the right noises in the last few months. He topped the wicket-takers' charts for Gujarat in the Ranji Trophy last year and finished as the fourth-highest wicket-taker in the Vijay Hazare Trophy this year. In the 50-over tournament, Kalaria stood out with 21 wickets in 11 games while going at an economy rate of less than four runs per over.
The economy, in particular, stood out in Kalaria's returns. A natural wicket-taker with an ability to contain the run flow is a rare commodity. Add the fact that he is a left-arm pacer who creates awkward angles and you have a solid fast bowler capable of fitting into most sides.
Kalaria has been phenomenal with the new ball in recent times and in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy he showed his value yet again, finishing as the most economical bowler in this year's tournament. With eight wickets in five matches, Kalaria was a standout performer. That most franchises don't have left-arm domestic seamers further works in his favour. Kalaria will be sought after by a few franchises to fulfill the role Khaleel Ahmed did successfully at Sunrisers Hyderabad last season.
Franchises which could be interested in him: Kings XI Punjab, Kolkata Knight Riders, Royal Challengers Bangalore, Mumbai Indians
T20s:56, Runs: 1552, Avg: 35.27, SR: 124.45, 50s: 10
The Jharkhand middle-order batsman was one of the standout performers this Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. In 10 matches, Virat slammed 343 runs at an average of 57.17. He was not just the highest run-scorer for Jharkhand, but the sole performer with the bat in the Trophy where the team lost four out of four games in the Super League phase.
The next highest scorer for Jharkhand had just 150 runs, underlining the role Virat played in the side this year. He had also topped the run-charts for Jharkhand in the Vijay Hazare Trophy earlier this year with 335 runs in seven innings at an average of 83.75 including a hundred and two fifties.
With an ability to hold the innings together while accelerating, Virat stood out despite his team's evident failings. Even in the Vijay Hazare Trophy, he finished with a strike rate above 100. Virat, just 21, shone in the Deodhar Trophy too, making a game-changing 76 while batting alongside Axar Patel for India C against India B.
Franchises which could be interested in him: Sunrisers Hyderabad, Royal Challengers Bangalore, Rajasthan Royals
R Sai Kishore
T20s: 22, Wickets: 25, Avg: 16.76, Eco: 5.4
Tamil Nadu's star this Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy was the left-arm spinner Ravisrinivasan Sai Kishore, a find from the Tamil Nadu Premier League (TNPL). A miserly spinner, Sai Kishore was pivotal in helping Tamil Nadi to the Super League stage this Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. Impeccable in the powerplay overs, Sai Kishore was used in the role even after Washington Sundar, a well-acknowledged powerplay spinner, became available.
Though he has been part of the Tamil Nadu set-up for the last three years, Sai Kishore's standout season came this year as he topped the wickets chart in the just-concluded T20 tournament. In 12 games, Sai Kishore took 20 wickets with a best of 4/6. An average of 10.4 was impressive, but it is his economy rate of 4.64 that would have impressed the IPL scouts.
Quite a few IPL teams are after spinners who can bowl in the powerplay phase. While most teams are packed with domestic spinners, there are few who can fulfill the role in the first six overs with as much efficiency as Kishore. That in itself is his USP and it should help him find bidders in the upcoming IPL auctions in mid-December.
Franchises which could be interested in him: Chennai Super Kings, Delhi Capitals, Kings XI Punjab
T20s: 39, Runs: 1108, Avg: 34.62, SR: 128.68, 100s: 1, 50s: 8
At 30 years, Baroda's Aditya Waghmode is something of an enigma. His career hasn't quite taken off yet, but there have been sparks of brilliance which has allowed him to remain in the horizons. To break the shackles, he needed one exceptional tournament and that turned out to be the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy this year.
Waghmode topped the run charts for Baroda with 364 runs in 10 innings while averaging 45.5 and striking at an impressive rate of 153.58. He finished fifth in the overall run charts behind some standout names, all of whom already have IPL contracts. As an opening batsman, Waghmode is capable of teeing off in the powerplays or holding the innings together in times of adversity.
Waghmode had further made an impression in the Ranji Trophy this year where he made 523 runs in 14 innings at an average of over 40, including three hundreds. In the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, it was his consistency that drew attention. At one point he had scores of 32, 32, 82*, 55*, 24 and 88 in successive games. This should see him being discussed by a few IPL franchises ahead of this year's auctions.
Franchises which could be interested in him: Sunrisers Hyderabad, Chennai Super Kings
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