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Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy: Abhimanyu Mithun picks five wickets in six balls | Cricket News

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SURAT: On the eve of the Karnataka-Haryana Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 semis clash, the spotlight was on former India pacer Abhimanyu Mithun as it had emerged that he was summoned for questioning in the Karnataka Premier League’s spot-fixing scandal. Despite being in the news for the wrong reasons, the 30-year-old came up with a fine performance — taking 5 for 39 which included a hat-trick — that helped Karnataka register a resounding eight-wicket win over their opponents at the Lalbhai Contractor Stadium on Friday.

Haryana’s Himanshu Rana (61, 6×4, 2×6) and Chaitanya Bishnoi (55, 7×4, 1×6) powered their side to an imposing 194/8 in their 20 overs. But the total proved too little for the power-packed Karnataka line-up who chased it down in just 15 overs. Their reliable opening pair of KL Rahul (66, 4×4, 6×6) and Devdutt Padikkal (87, 11×4, 4×6) added 125 in just 9.3 overs to make a mockery of the contest. After Rahul’s departure, Padikkal added 57 runs with Mayank Agarwal for the second wicket to help the side march into the summit clash on Sunday.

Karnataka’s target would have been in excess of 200 if not for the brilliant final over bowled by Mithun. After being hit for 37 runs in his first three overs, Mithun came back in style in the 20th over. The tall pacer began by dismissing Himanshu — caught by Mayank Agarwal in the mid-wicket region. In his second ball, Mithun got rid of Rahul Tewatia (32, 6×4) caught at long-on fence by Karun Nair. Sumit Kumar was Mithun’s hat-trick victim when he was caught at short fine-leg region by Rohan Kadam. Mithun only got better as the over progressed. He had four in four when Haryana skipper Amit Mishra was caught at covers by K Gowtham. Mithun bagged his fifth wicket of the over when Jayant Yadav was pouched by keeper KL Rahul in the final delivery.

Mithun’s efforts saw him become the first Indian to have taken a hat-trick in all domestic competitions — Ranji Trophy, Vijay Hazare Trophy and Syed Mushtaq Ali T20. He had bagged his first-class hat-trick against Uttar Pradesh back in the 2009 season. The Vijay Hazare final against Tamil Nadu in Bengaluru last month saw Mithun get to a hat-trick in the List A format before repeating this feat in the domestic T20 competition.

Before his show on Friday, Mithun had only picked 5 wickets from 7 outings in this competition. Mithun’s ordinary returns notwithstanding, Karnataka’s bowling coach Sreenath Aravind had faith in the former’s abilities. “He is an experienced campaigner and will make it count,” Aravind had said.

Mithun did just that. “The trick in the last over was to vary my pace and not give them much space to free their arms,” Mithun said after the match. Asked if he was aware of his record, Mithun said, “I knew of my feat (of taking hat-tricks in all domestic formats) and it’s always nice to contribute in your team’s cause,” he added.

Brief scores: Haryana 194/8 in 20 overs (Himanshu Rana 61, C Bishnoi 55; Mithun 5-39). Karnataka 195/2 in 15 overs (KL Rahul 66, D Padikkal 87). Karnataka won by 8 wickets





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