Baroda, Kerala off to cracking starts

West Zone champions Baroda and South Zone runners-up Kerala made a winning start to their campaign in the Syed Mushtaq Ali All India T20 tournament by defeating Bengal and Delhi, respectively.

Baroda, who won all their four league games in the zonal event, notched up their fifth straight victory by overwhelming Bengal by seven wickets at the Sharad Pawar Cricket Academy ground in the Bandra-Kurla complex.

Baroda shot out their rivals for a paltry 96 and then chased the target in 14 overs to score a comprehensive win.

Kerala overcame a depleted Delhi by 14 runs in the other Group B game at the Wankhede Stadium by notching up a challenging 150 for 6, with opener V Jagadeesh top scoring with 52 in 36 balls. 

They then restricted Delhi to 136 for 9 with some efficient bowling and brilliant fielding.

In the Baroda-Bengal game, the latter plunged into trouble soon after being asked to bat first by their rivals as they were reduced to 50 for five and never recovered from this poor start. Captain S Sanyal top scored with 13.
 
For Baroda, medium pacers Lukman Meriwala and Abhijit Karambelkar captured three wickets each on a seaming track.
 
Chasing the modest target, Baroda were given a decent start by Kedar Devdar (11) and Aditya Waghmode (27).
 
Although in the middle they lost two wickets in close succession, Baroda sailed home thanks to an unbroken fourth wicket stand of 43 between R Solanki (16 n.o.) and Deeepak Hooda (24 n.o.).

In the Kerala-Delhi match, Kerala were off to a fabulous start with openers Jagadeesh and J Rakesh (36) putting on 89 runs before a brief wobble saw them lose three wickets for three runs. 
 
Captain Sachin Baby (28) rallied the innings around with the lower order to reach a score of 150/6 in their 20 overs. 
 
However, Delhi – without several top players – failed to get off to a sound start and slumped to 35 for three. They could never really recover from the early setback and lost the encounter. 

It was Delhi’s first loss after having won all five north zone league games to qualify for the inter zonals.
 
For Kerala, Rakesh took three wickets to add to his batting effort, while Vinod Kumar and Prashanth Padmanabhan got two each.
 
Brief scores: Bengal: 96 all out in 20 overs (L Meriwala 3-19, A Karambelkar 3-22, H Pandya 2-10) lt to Baroda: 97/3 in 14 overs (A Waghmode 27, D Hooda 24 n.o.; A Gani 2-28).
 
Kerala: 150/6 (V Jagadeesh 52, K Rakesh 36, S Baby 28; J Khan 2-22, V Sood 2-29, Y Nagar 2-29) bt Delhi: 136/9 (V Kumar 2-17, P Prashanth 2-23, K Rakesh 3-34).
 

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