Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy - India's Domestic T20 Tournament

Every young kid in India who plays cricket has one dream, donning the blue jersey and representing the national side on the highest level. But this requires a lot of hard work, a lot of dedication, and a lot of passion. And if you have what it takes to reach the top, the opportunities are endless. The Ranji Trophy, the Vijay Hazare Trophy and the IPL, are all a structured platform for players to express their game to the fullest. Among these, the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy (SMAT) is one of India's top domestic T20 cricket tournaments. Originally known as Inter State T20 Championship, this tournament is conducted every year by the BCCI. Earlier domestic cricket was only restricted to Ranji Trophy. But as time passed and the game evolved towards the T20 format, SMAT was introduced. This format is short and quick and the sole purpose of introducing this tournament was to promote T20 cricket at the grassroots level. 

The Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy
Credit: myKhel

In this article by ZAP, let’s learn more about the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy (SMAT) T20 Tournament, the history, the format, the past winners, and everything related. 

The History of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy:

The Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy is an Indian domestic Twenty20 cricket competition managed by the BCCI. It began in the 2006-07 season and is named after Syed Mushtaq Ali, a former Test cricketer. Interestingly, IPL and SMAT are of same format, but the former doesn’t provide ample opportunities to domestic players as a lot of international players pre occupy the spots. Hence, SMAT fills that void by providing ample opportunities to young talent in India. 

The first tournament was won by Tamil Nadu, led by Dinesh Karthik. Over the years, the format has mostly included a round-robin stage where teams are divided into groups, with the top teams moving on to knockout rounds. In 2012-13, the BCCI changed the knockout rounds to a Super League format with two groups, but reverted to the original knockout format in 2017.

The number of participating teams has grown from 27 to 38 as of 2023. The 2023-24 trophy was claimed by Punjab, who defeated Baroda in the final. Tamil Nadu is the most successful team, having won the trophy three times.

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Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy (SMAT) - Format and Rules

The Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy is an open tournament and offers vast opportunities for players to showcase their T20 skills, like power hitting for batsmen and the special powerplay and death bowling for bowlers. Selectors and scouts are often present in these matches and tend to pick the best players and performers. 

The Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy features 38 teams divided into five Elite groups: A, B, C, D, and E. Previously, there was a Plate group for newer teams, but it has been removed. Groups A, B, and C each have eight teams, and they play seven matches each. Groups D and E have seven teams, and they play six matches each.

The teams that top each group move on to the knockout stage, along with the three best second-place teams. The knockout stage includes four quarter-final matches, two semi-finals, and a final to determine the champion.

The BCCI also added a new impact player rule for the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy in the 2022 season where teams could substitute a player and bring in a new player before the 14th over of an innings. The IPL would also go use this rule to make matches more interesting and strategic. The BCCI later changed this rule for SMAT where a team can make substitutions at any time during the match. This allows teams to have more flexibility and strategic options during the game.

Also Read: Cricket Rules

Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy (SMAT) - Teams and Winners

The Karnataka state cricket players celebrate with the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy
Credit: The Times of India

Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy (SMAT) Teams:

38 teams participated in the SMAT trophy in the 2023-24 season of the tournament. The following are all the teams that participated in the previous season. 

  • Andhra
  • Arunachal Pradesh
  • Assam
  • Baroda
  • Bengal
  • Bihar
  • Chandigarh
  • Chhattisgarh
  • Delhi
  • Goa
  • Gujarat
  • Haryana
  • Himachal Pradesh
  • Hyderabad
  • Jammu and Kashmir
  • Jharkhand
  • Karnataka
  • Kerala
  • Madhya Pradesh
  • Maharashtra
  • Manipur
  • Meghalaya
  • Mizoram
  • Mumbai
  • Nagaland
  • Odisha
  • Pondicherry
  • Punjab
  • Railways
  • Rajasthan
  • Saurashtra
  • Services
  • Sikkim
  • Tamil Nadu
  • Tripura
  • Uttar Pradesh
  • Uttarakhand
  • Vidarbha
  • Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy (SMAT) Winners:

    The Punjab Cricket Team celebrates after winning the Syed Mushtaq Ali trophy (SMAT) in 2023
    Credit: The Hindu





    Tamil Nadu







    Madhya Pradesh









    Uttar Pradesh





    Uttar Pradesh



    East Zone

    Central Zone









    Tamil Nadu


    Tamil Nadu



    Tamil Nadu




    Himachal Pradesh




    The Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy showcases a diverse array of domestic cricket talent from across India. With 38 teams participating, including traditional powerhouses like Mumbai, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu, the competition is fierce and showcases the depth of cricketing talent in the country. Teams like Tamil Nadu, Baroda, and Karnataka have done really well over the years, winning many times.Every year, all these teams fight hard to win the trophy, making the competition really exciting. It's a great opportunity for both new players and experienced ones to show off their skills and compete at a high level in Indian domestic cricket.

    Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy - Records

    Most Trophy Wins

    Tamil Nadu: 3

    Most Runs

    Harpreet Singh: 2337

    Most Wickets

    Siddharth Kaul: 120 Wickets

    Highest Total

    275/6: Punjab vs Andhra in 2023

    Lowest Totals

    30: Tripura vs Jharkhand in 2009

    Highest Individual Score

    147: Shreyas Iyer (Mumbai) vs Sikkim in 2019


    How is the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy structured?

    The Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy features teams representing various states and cricketing associations across India. The tournament follows a round-robin format, wherein 38 teams are divided into groups, and each team plays against every other team in its group. They further go on to play in the knockout stages where we get the  eventual winners.

    Who is Syed Mushtaq Ali?

    Syed Mushtaq Ali was a right-hand opening batsman and left hand spinner who 11 matches for India and scored 612 runs and taking 3 wickets. In 1936, he became the first Indian player to score an overseas century when he scored 112 runs against England in Manchester. He was felicitated with the Padma Shri in 1964. He also received the CK Nayudu Lifetime Achievement Award in 1995.


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