Baroda rode on skipper Kedar Devdhar’s fighting 64 and bowlers’ impressive show to beat Punjab by 25 runs and enter the final of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy on Friday. Put into bat at the Sardar Patel Stadium, Baroda posted a competitive 160 for 3 and then restricted Punjab to 135 for 8. Half centuries from skipper Devdhar (64 off 49 balls) and two-down Kartik Kakade (53 not out off 41balls) laid the foundation for Baroda’s total. Baroda lost opener Ninad Rathva (15) early as he was cleaned up by experienced pacer Siddharth Kaul (1/31).
Then in-form Vishnu Solanki (12) and Devdhar joined hands and fetched 14 runs off the sixth over as Baroda ended the powerplay at 44 for 1.
When it looked like the two would take the game away from Punjab, young leggie Mayank Markande (1/29) did the trick and trapped Solanki in front in the ninth over as Baroda slumped to 57 for 2.
Devdhar got a life on 31 when Kaul dropped a skier at short-fine leg.
He grabbed the chance with both hands and together with Kakade added 93 runs for the third wicket.
Kakade hammered five boundaries and two sixes and was ably supported by Devdhar, who later shifted gears. Devdhar’s knock was laced with four fours and three sixes. Baroda added 54 runs in the last five overs.
Chasing 161, Punjab were never on course. They lost opener Abhishek Sharma (5) in the second over.
Pacer Lukman Meriwala (3/28) struck again as he dismissed in-form Prabhsimran Singh (15), who was holed out in the deep as Punjab slumped to 21 for 2.
Anmolpreet Singh (15) too failed to convert his start and in an effort to catch up with the required run-rate, was holed out in the deep.
Baroda kept making in-roads as they dismissed Ramandeep Singh (6) with Ninad Rathva (2/18) registering his second scalp of the day.
Run-rate pressure got to Gurkeerat Mann (39), who too was holed out in the deep, as Punjab lost its half side for 85.
Skipper Mandeep Singh (42 not out), who injured his shoulder while fielding and came out to bat down the order, tried his best but could not take his side home.
Baroda will now take on Tamil Nadu in the summit clash on Sunday.
Brief Scores: Baroda 160/3 (Kedar Devdhar 64; Kartik Kakade 53 not out; Mayank Markande 1/29, Siddharth Kaul 1/31) beat Punjab 135/8 (Mandeep Singh 42 not out, Gurkeerat Mann 39; Lukman Meriwala 3/28, Ninad Rathva 2/18) by 25 runs.
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