Punjab, Baroda set up title clash

Punjab, Baroda set up title clash

On a day of upsets, Punjab and Baroda cha­sed down targets successfully to knock out fancied outfits Mumbai and Delhi respectively and enter the final of the Syed Mushtaq Ali All India T20 tournament here.

Punjab rode on Mumbai’s poor batting to restrict the hosts to a meagre 122 for nine, and then chased the target with five wickets and six balls to spare in the second semifinal.

Earlier, Kedar Devdhar cracked a superb 96 to power his side to a comprehensive seven-wicket victory over Delhi with 2.5 overs to spare in the first semifinal.

The final is to be held at the Cricket Club of India’s Brab­ourne stadium on Tuesday. The diminutive Devdhar, and his second-wicket partnership with Aditya Waghmode, took the game away from Delhi in the morning, after the northern outfit piled up a challenging 169 for nine built mainly around opener Shikhar Dhawan’s 62 in 42 balls.

Deodhar struck six sixes and 11 fours in his 40-ball innings to take the stuffing out of the Delhi ranks.

After the fall of an early wicket, Devdhar and Waghmode, who made 60 in 40 balls, put on 133 runs off only 65 balls to seal their rivals’ fate.

The deciding over in the match was the 12th in the run-chase, when Devdhar walked up to Manhas and clubbed the slow bowler for three sixes -- over square leg and mid wicket -- and a four.

Hosts Mumbai batted poorly in the second semifinal against a disciplined Punjab attack. The run-outs of two of their main batsmen Abhishek Nayar (8) and Suryakumar Yadav (20) also did not help Mumbai’s cause.

In fact, Nayar’s run-out was followed by top scorer Ajinkya Rahane’s (21) wicket so that Mumbai had lost two wickets in four balls.

They never recovered from the double strike which reduced them to 43 for three in the eighth over. The dismissals of Rohit Sharma, caught at long off while going for a big hit off leggie Rahul Sharma, and the run out of Yadav pushed them further behind at 87 for five, and the final tally was not enough to trouble the Punjab batsmen.

Manpreet Gony took three wickets while Rahul Sharma grabbed two for 15. Punjab’s run-chase was led by opener Chandan Madan, who made 55 in 44 balls with nine fours after being dropped on 21 by Yadav off Javed Khan at long-off.

Madan and Mandeep Singh (22) added 60 runs in 46 balls to take the score past the 100-run-mark and ensured Punjab’s victory.

Brief scores: Delhi: 169/9 in 20 overs (Shikhar Dhawan 62, Rajat Bhatia 27; Murtaja Vahora 2-24, Yusuf Pathan 2-30, Bharghav Bhatt 3-50) lt to Baroda: 173/3 in 17/1 overs (Aditya Waghmode 60, Kedar Devdhar 96; Pawan Negi 2-39).

Mumbai: 122/9 in 20 overs (Manpreet Gony 3-32, Rahul Sharma 2-15) lt to Punjab: 124/5 in 19 overs (Chandan Madan 55, Iqbal Abdulla 3-20).

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