Karnataka returned to winning ways in the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 tournament with a four-wicket win over Bengal here on Friday.
In a Super League Group ‘B’ encounter, Karnataka overhauled Bengal’s 151 for seven in 20 overs with four balls to spare as they shrugged off a disappointing 10-run defeat to Uttar Pradesh on Thursday.
Chasing 152, Karnataka once again didn’t have a great start, losing Amit Verma, Kunal Kapoor and Robin Uthappa for 55 in the eighth over. Among the trio, Uthappa had all the reasons to be disappointed as he looked in good flow en route his 26-ball 41 that included five fours and a six. However, left-arm spinner Iresh Saxena ended his stay at the crease.
Unlike in the match against UP the previous day, Karnataka didn’t lose their focus against Bengal as middle-order batsmen too chipped in with handy contributions, and none was more significant than KL Rahul’s 51 that came in 33 balls with five fours and two sixes.
Pacer Shami Ahmed jettisoned him to give Bengal a glimmer of hope as Karnataka were still some distance away from target at that stage at 126 for five in the 17th over.
However, couple of meaty blows by Stuart Binny and skipper R Vinay Kumar ensured that Karnataka reached home.
Earlier, Karnataka bowlers led by Vinay, SL Akshay and K Gowtham, who took wickets each, ensured that Bengal never received any sort of momentum during their innings.
There were three well-paced knocks in Bengal innings a 30-ball 42 by Sourav Mandal, a 24-ball 31 by Debabrata Das and an unbeaten 17-ball 37 by Ashish Nandi. But Karnataka bowlers did so much restriction job around those knocks that they failed to make desired impact.
Meanwhile, Uttar Pradesh beat Baroda by two wickets in a last-ball thriller in their Group B match. Chasing 129 runs, Uttar Pradesh required 16 runs off the last over with just two wickets in hand. Imtiaz Ahmed (15 not out) struck two sixes in the last over to take his side home.
Uttar Pradesh’s middle-order batsmen made useful contributions with Mohammad Kaif and Tanmay Srivastava scoring 24 each and sharing a crucial 44-run stand.
Earlier, Baroda scored 128 for eight with HH Pandya top-scoring with an unbeaten 37. Pandya shared a 48-run stand with J B Chhaya (22) for the fourth wicket to provide some semblance of respectability to the score.