Baroda lifted the 2014 Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy with a three-run win over Uttar Pradesh at Wankhede Stadium. After Aditya Waghmode ensured the team got a modest total on the board with his 31-ball 42, the bowlers took Baroda to a last-ball victory. They claimed five wickets in the last quarter to seize the momentum from UP and clinch a thrilling win. UP, who were coasting along at 116 for one, collapsed after Prashant Gupta was removed by Lukman Meriwala to leave the team on 116 for two in the 17th over. The bowlers then held their nerves to keep the opposition down to 141 for seven and claim victory. Meriwala finished with three wickets.
Earlier, after an 80-run opening stand, the Baroda line-up was restricted to 144 for seven by the UP bowlers, after asking them to bat first. Waghmode’s quick-fire knock, at the top of the order, helped lay a solid platform, but the rest of the line-up failed to build on it. After taking the team to 80, the opener was caught at point off Ali Murtaza for 42. Only 64 runs came in the next 10.1 overs as the Baroda batsmen struggled to gain momentum.
Kedar Devdhar, who had played the perfect foil en route to his 26, offered a simple catch to point off PP Gupta. And then, his opening partner walked back in the next over. Shatrunjay Gaekwad was run out after adding just six to the total. While Hardik Pandya scored a run-a-ball 22, Abhijit Karambelkar and Karmran Shaikh returned for single-digit scores. With runs hard to come by, Hardik departed taking the aerial route. Pinal Shah, who replaced Shaikh, joined Krunal Pandya to add 12 runs to take the team to 144, before the former was caught off the last ball of the innings.
Mukul Dagar and Prashant Gupta then took guard to chase the modest target. With the score on 18, Dagar edged Hardik to the ‘keeper to depart for three in the fourth over. Eklavya Dwivedi then joined Prashant in taking the innings forward. The pair chipped away at the target as they took the team to 50 in the 10th over.
Prashant, who had held up one end while he milked the bowlers, cut Krunal to the boundary as he worked to maintain the steady pace of the innings. The partnership too went past the 50-run mark in the third quarter of the innings. The opener reached his half-century as the fielder in the deep couldn’t hold on to a tough chance and ball rolled over to the fence. And with another boundary in the same over, they collected 11 runs from it.
With 44 runs required in 30 overs and two set top-order batsman in the middle, Uttar Pradesh were in a commanding position. The pair ran singles and twos and inched towards the target. They had added 98 for the second wicket when Prashant struck Meriwala to mid-on and was caught by Karmabelkar.
With Prashant’s innings coming to an end, Rinku Singh made his made way to the middle. But he soon departed while attempting to pull Munaf. Meanwhile, Dwivedi continued to anchor the innings and reached his 50. He was then joined by Nath, who was run out while responding to the striker’s call and sent back.
In the next over, Dwivedi returned, leaving the team on 132 for five. With 13 runs required from nine balls, Umang Sharma came out to bat. But off the last ball of the penultimate over, Karmabelkar pulled off a blinder running towards the sightscreen. Meriwala had struck a vital double-blow to leave the opposition on 134 for six.
With 11 required and Upendra Yadav and Praveen Kumar in the middle, Rishi Arothe bowled the final over. With Yadav lofting the ball over long-on for a six, UP needed four off the last ball. Arothe then ensured Baroda denied UP a famous win as Yadav ended up edging him to the ‘keeper.