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Uttar Pradesh outplay Baroda to win maiden T20 title

Spinners Kuldeep Yadav and Piyush Chawla star in Uttar Pradesh's victory

Uttar Pradesh won their maiden Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy title with a commanding 38-run victory over two-time champions Baroda in the day-night final at the Wankhede Stadium on Wednesday. Unbeaten in the group and Super League stage, Uttar Pradesh stretched their winning streak to nine games with yet another dominating show. Spinners Kuldeep Yadav (4-0-12-2) and Piyush Chawla (4-0-16-0) guided the team to victory after captain Suresh Raina’s unbeaten 47 off 37 balls had helped them post a challenging 163/7.

Uttar Pradesh v Baroda: UP 163/7 (Prashant Gupta 49, Suresh Raina 47 not out, Bhargav Bhatt 2/13) beat Bar 125/7 (Soaeb Tai 26 not out, Ankit Rajpoot 3/30) by 38 runs

Needing 164 under lights, Baroda who have excelled chasing earlier in the league matches, stuttered in the final and were left with a mountain to climb when their top three batsmen were back in the dugout in quick succession. Medium pacer Ankit Rajpoot (3/30) removed opener Kedar Devdhar in the second over while his brother Mrunal departed in the seventh with the score on 48.

If the T20 is seen as a format where spinners have little role to play, Uttar Pradesh’s slower bowlers - Piyush Chawla and Kuldeep Yadav – proved everyone wrong. Their combined eight overs fetched only 28 runs. They also bowled 22 dot balls. Such was the impact that Baroda could not find a boundary for 55 balls after the fifth over.

The big break arrived when chinaman bowler Kuldeep outwitted Hardik Pandya, the tournament’s top run-getter as hit straight back to the him. With the pitch slightly slowing down, Yusuf Pathan struggled to hit the top gear and made an uncharacteristic 14 off 27 balls. When Irfan walked out to bat, Baroda needed 80 from 29 balls. With nobody able to clear the fence, Baroda eventually finished at 125/7.

Earlier, Baroda bowlers did a good job to restrict UP to a gettable score after electing to bowl first. Samarth Singh was the first to depart when he chopped the ball onto the stumps as UP lost the first wicket for 37. Walking in at No.3 to a rousing welcome, Raina started off with his trademark inside-out shot that cleared the inner circle.

UP were in trouble when Prashant Gupta was caught at mid-on on the last ball of the Power Play, but the third umpire observed that Munaf Patel had overstepped. The narrow escape resulted in UP batters curbing aggression and looked to rotate the strike. The 50-run stand was raised in 41 balls when Raina stepped out to hit Soaeb Tai for his first six in the match in the 12th over. In the next over, Prashant hit Bhargav Bhatt for another six, but was trapped in front soon after when he failed to read a quicker delivery. UP slipped further as the left-arm spinner struck again in the same over to dismiss Eklavya Dwivedi for zero. Reeling at 97/3, UP got a big reprieve when Yusuf Pathan dropped Piyush Chawla at short mid-off.

With boundaries drying up, Chawla looked to free his arms and though he managed a six and a four courtesy a reverse-sweep, his stay in the middle was short lived as he was trapped in front by Tai in the 16th over. The fall of wicket continued for UP and they paid a price for taking Munaf Patel lightly in the field. The senior player effected a run-out to send back a dangerous looking Umang Sharma, who had clobbered two boundaries in four balls.

The Baroda bowlers deserve credit for not allowing Raina, one of the most destructive batsmen in the T20 format, to score freely. Though he stayed till the end and finished on a high with a six off the final ball, the UP captain did not look at his fluent best. In his 37-ball knock, Raina could manage only two boundaries and as many sixes. Though Munaf did not get a wicket, he bowled 11 dot balls in his four overs and conceded only 21 runs.


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UP, Baroda to face off in the final

All-round Amit Mishra stars in UP’s win; Hooda’s fifty helps Baroda trump Mum

The last two games of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Super League went down the wire as UP beat Delhi at the BKC ground while Baroda defeated Mumbai to enter the finals. On a day where net run-rates were calculated furiously as teams strove to keep themselves in contention for a place in the domestic T20 finals, the Irfan Pathan-led team held their nerve in a cliff-hanger while UP continued their winning streak in their campaign to lift the trophy.

Amit Mishra starred in UP’s win with an all-round performance while Eklavya Dwivedi again proved to be a vital cog in the line-up. For Baroda, it was young Deepak Hooda’s knock that helped them pull off a win.

Group A

Baroda vs Mumbai: Mumbai 151/5 in 20 overs (S Yadav 57*, S Singh 25, B Bhatt 2/25) lost to Baroda 153/9 in 19 overs (D Hooda 53, H Pandya 28, P Tambe 3/26, D Kulkarni 2/23) by 1 wicket 

In a nail-biting finish, Baroda sneaked into the final with a one-wicket win over Mumbai at the Wankhede Stadium. Asked to bat, Mumbai, who were at the top of the table ahead of the third round game, were restricted to 151 by the Irfan Pathan-led team. Left on 96 for five in the 15th over, Mumbai were lifted to a respectable total by Suryakumar Yadav. Coming in to bat at No 6, the stylish batsman scored unbeaten 57 off 36 balls to set the opposition a target.

Dhawal Kulkarni then claimed Kedar Devdhar off the first ball and 28 runs later Pravin Tambe castled Mrunal Devdhar. As wickets continued to fall, Hooda held the Baroda innings together as they strove to chase down the target in 19.1 overs to be able to qualify for the finals. At 145, they lost seventh wicket and two balls later they lost their eight wicket while the score was on 149. On the next ball Rishi Arothe was run out. At 149 for nine in 18.5 overs, Bhargav Bhatt found himself in the company of Munaf Patel and took the team to victory with a boundary off the last ball of the over.

Group B 

Delhi vs UP: Delhi 158/6 in 20 overs (U Chand 48, P Negi 41, A Mishar 2/25, K Yadav 2/29, P Chawla 2/31) lost to UP 159/7 in 19.4 overs (E Dwivedi 49*, S Raina 22, A Mishra 19*, N Saini 2/24) by 3 wickets

While Pawan Negi's 23-ball 41-run unbeaten knock lifted Delhi to 158, it was Mishra's nine-ball 19 (2x4; 1x6) along with Dwivedi's 35-ball 49 not out that helped UP scale the target.

Mishra was the stand out performer for UP in their must win match after Gujarat had beaten Jharkhand earlier in the day. The pacer claimed the key wicket of Gautam Gambhir upfront and later returned to send back Unmukt Chand who had held the Delhi innings together with 48 off 35. Piyush Chawla and Kuldeep Yadav too claimed two wickets each as Delhi set the opposition a competitive target.

Chasing the 159, UP lost the top half of their line-up at regular intervals and were 68 for five. However, Dwivedi, who has been the mainstay of their batting, kept the team in the chase with a well paced knock. He found an able support from the batsmen to follow. While Chawla chipped in with 10, Praveen Kumar contributed 18 runs to the match inched towards a close finish. Mishra who joined Dwivedi after Praveen's run out helped claim 19 off the penultimate over off Subodh Bhati to tip the balance in UP's favour. With ten runs required off the last over, UP then coasted home with two balls to spare.

Prajakta Pawar

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