Gujarat clinched the fifth Syed Mushtaq Ali Twenty20 Championship title after registering a thumping six-wicket victory over Punjab in the summit clash at the Holkar Stadium in Indore. This loss ensured that Punjab,who had a brilliant domestic year in all three formats,finished the 2012-13 season trophyless.
Having been set a target of just 123 in 20 overs after their quicks had destroyed Punjabs batting line-up,Gujarat chased down their target in style,with teenager Akshar Patel smacking two consecutive sixes in the 18th over to give his side the win with 13 balls to spare.
Chasing down a small target,Gujarat had their fair share of hiccups,what with their captain and opener Parthiv Patel being dismissed for just 1 in the second over of their innings. But with two fifty run stands,first between top scorer Asad Pathan (32) and Niraj Patel (14) for the second wicket and then between Manprit Juneja (31) and Abdulahad Malik (31*) for the fourth,Gujarat sailed home with six wickets to spare.
The match also signalled the end of a steady domestic campaign by the losing side. After having topped their group table for the third time in three formats,Punjab went further in Twenty20s than they had in the one-dayers or in the four-day game by just reaching the final. In the Ranji Trophy,they had lost in the semi-final to Saurashtra and in the Vijay Hazare,Punjab had fallen to minnows Kerala in the quarterfinals. This,then,was their golden chance.
Even before the first ball was bowled,Punjab had the upper hand by winning the toss. But soon after electing to bat,Mandeep Singh perhaps wished he hadnt. Reduced to 20/4 after a little over a quarter of the innings had been completed,Punjab found themselves in a trench dug by Gujarats seam bowlers Jasprit Bumrah and Mehul Patel.
Nineteen year old Bumrah caused the most damage,clean bowling by opener Mandeep and number four bat Mayank Sidhana.
A fighting 44-run partnership for the fifth wicket between wicketkeeper Chandan Madan and Amitoze Singh helped the struggle back to its feet. Even once Madan fell in the 13th over to off-spinner Rakesh Dhurv with the score on 64/4,Amitoze waged a lone battle. By the penultimate ball of the penultimate over of the innings,he was on the verge of what would have been this games only individual score of 50. He,however,fell just short just as Punjab had all season long.
Brief scores: Punjab 122/8 in 20 overs (Amitoze Singh 49,Chandan Madan 25; Jasprit Bumrah 3/14,Mehul Patel 2/26) lost to Gujarat (Asad Pathan 32,Abdulahad Malik 31 not out,Manprit Juneja 31; Rajwinder Singh 2/40)