Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy: Mandeep Singh’s valiant 24-ball 42 not out went in vain as Punjab lost the semi-final of the T20 domestic tournament to Baroda by 25 runs at the Sardar Patel Stadium in Ahmedabad on Friday.

Punjab captain Mandeep Singh’s 24-ball 42 ended in vain in the SMAT 2021 semi-final (Courtesy of BCCI)

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Baroda will take on Tamil Nadu in the final on Sunday in Ahmedabad
  • Kedar Devdhar and Karthik Kadade’s fifties helped Baroda post 160
  • Mandeep Singh braved an injury to hit a valiant 24-ball 42 for Punjab

Punjab skipper Mandeep Singh braved a shoulder injury and came up with a valiant knock of 24-ball 42 not out but it was not enough as his team fell short of a 160-run target against Baroda by 25 runs in the second semi-final of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy on Friday. Baroda, led by Kedar Devdhar, will take on Tamil Nadu in Sunday’s final at the Sardar Patel Stadium in Ahmedabad.

Mandeep Singh walked in to bat at No. 7 after having picked up a shoulder injury while fielding and the asking rate was a bit too much as Punjab did not have any momentum at the top. Gurkeerat Mann Singh hit a 37-ball 39 but he did not find support and eventually lost his wicket in the 15th over when Punjab were still going at less than 6 runs per over.

Mandeep was in pain as he struggled to get his timing right initially but he got some big hits out towards the end in a lost cause. Punjab’s unbeaten run came to an end at the wrong time as Baroda came up with a clinical performance on Friday.

All-round Baroda shine despite losing big stars

Baroda did not have their superstar players in Hardik and Krunal Pandya and Deepak Hooda but they have been helped by a collective effort so far in the tournament.

While it was Vishnu Solanki who delivered in a last-over thriller in the quarter-finals, it was captain Kedar Devdhar who stepped up and delivered on the big semi-final day. Devdhar opened the innings and hit a 49-ball 64 following which Karthik Kakade hit a 41-ball 53 to help Baroda post an above-par total of 160 in 20 overs.

While defending the total, Baroda came up with a clinical performance with the ball and on the field. While Lukman Meriwala topped the charts with 3 wickets, their fielders did not miss any catching opportunity that came their way as Baroda managed to pick up wickets at regular intervals and make sure Punjab did not have any momentum through their innings.

Earlier in the day, Tamil Nadu came up with a fine chasing performance, gunning down a 155-run target against Rajasthan. Led by Arun Karthik’s 89, Tamil Nadu made sure they did not pay the price for sloppy fielding. M Mohammed picked up 4 wickets as Baroda suffered a major collapse, losing their last 7 wickets for just 34 runs in the first semi-final.



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