Baroda beat Delhi by 16 runs to continue their unbeaten run in the tournament so far. Defending a modest 131 runs, Lukman Meriwala pegged back Delhi by claiming three wickets in his first two overs to leave the opposition on eight for three. Although Jagrit Anand and Yogesh Nagar built a 70-run partnership to keep Delhi in the fray, the unrelenting Baroda bowlers struck in the latter half of the innings to seize the momentum.
After Munaf Patel dealt a double-blow in the 18th over, Meriwala claimed two in the penultimate over to put his team in charge. Having held Delhi to 115 for nine, Baroda gained four points from the win in their Group B match of the T20 Super League for the Syed Mushtaq Ali trophy, in Mumbai.
Earlier, electing to bat first, the opening pair of Kedar Devdhar and Aditya Waghmode took Baroda to 36, before Devdhar departed. Rakesh Solanki and Waghmode then added 31 runs for the second wicket, before the opener was caught by Mohit Sharma while looking to cut the ball. Waghmode had smashed Kshitiz Sharma for a six before returning for 30.
Baroda’s in-form all-rounder, Hardik Pandya, then came out to the middle. Four overs later, the batsman nicked Varun Sood to the wicketkeeper, leaving the team on 83 for three in the 16th over. With the team needing quick runs to set up a competitive score, Deepak Hooda joined forces with Rakesh Solanki. However, Solanki lost his stumps to Sumit Narwal in the next over, while Hooda smashed the bowler for a six. Wickets fell in a cluster for Baroda as their batsmen strove to put runs on the board. In the following over, Abhijit Karmabelkar claimed two boundaries as he took the team past the three-figure mark. But he was run out while looking for a second run. Pinal Shah, who replaced him, was also run out on the next ball, leaving the team on 102 for six, with 13 balls left in the innings.
Krunal Pandya, who then joined Hooda in the middle, helped the team a respectable score with an eight-ball 22-run cameo. The lower-order batsman helped add 16 runs in the last over as he lofted Narwal over long-off for a six and then struck a boundary through the leg side.
Chasing the 132-run target, Mohit Sharma returned in the second over. In his next over, Meriwala accounted for two more scalps to leave Delhi on eight for the loss of three wickets. While Dhruv Shorey hit the ball straight to Hooda at covers, Punit Bisht edged Meriwala to the wicketkeeper to return for naught in the fourth over.
Yogesh Nagar and Anand then came together to stem the fall of wickets. They put up a determined effort to stabilise the innings. Keeping the scoreboard ticking, they had taken the team to 42 at the end of 10 overs. They played watchfully as they rebuilt the innings and brought up Delhi’s 50 in the 12th over and clocked in the partnership’s 50 in the next over. With the team on 65, Nagar was dropped near the boundary after cutting Hardik while on 28.
With 55 required off the last five overs, the match was headed for a tight finish. Krunal provided his team with a much-needed breakthrough by disturbing Nagar’s woodwork and ending the fourth-wicket partnership for 70 runs.
Two balls later, Vishwanath Parmar took a catch at mid-off to send Narwal back for a duck. Sood perished while taking the aerial route an over later, to leave the team on 91 for six. After accounting for Sood’s wicket, Munaf caught Khsitiz Sharma off his own bowling later in the over, to put Baroda firmly in the driver’s seat.
With 40 runs required from the last two overs, Meriwala bowled Jagrit Anand and caught Javed Khan off his own bowling to leave Delhi on 104 for nine at the end of the penultimate over. While Baroda clinched victory in their second game of the Super League, Meriwala finished with match-winning figures of five for 23.