Uttar Pradesh and Baroda qualified for the Syed Mushtaq Ali All India T20 final by topping their respective groups on the basis of better net run rate after finishing equal on points with Goa and Kerala respectively.
UP defeated Haryana by six wickets thanks to Prashant Gupta’s maiden T20 century (102 in 58 balls) to finish their Group A league engagements with 12 points from three wins in the five-team pool at Rajkot. They had to wait for the conclusion of the last Group A pool game between Goa and Gujarat, that the former won by four wickets by blitzing their way to the winning total of 181 in only 15 overs for the loss of six wickets, to book their berth in the final with a better net run rate (+0.906) than Goa (+0.879) to top the pool.
A similar situation arose in the other group when Baroda lost to Kerala by 22 runs, finished level on points (12) but pipped the winners in the race to the summit clash on better net run rate in Group B. Baroda finished with NRR of +0.774 whereas Kerala ended up with NRR of +0.661.
The final between Baroda and UP would be played at the Wankhede Stadium on April 14 after the rest day on Sunday.
Chasing a stiff 179-run target set by Haryana, Prashant, with a whirlwind unbeaten 102 off just 58 balls, single-handedly ensured the win for UP with four balls to spare. Earlier sent into bat, Haryana posted a competitive 178 for the loss of eight wickets in their allotted 20 overs. Rahul Deewan was the top-scorer for Haryana scoring 46 off 37 balls with six fours.
Kerala win, lose out
Chasing Kerala’s challenging total of 152 for six, Baroda needed to score 127 to qualify as the top team in the group. The latter achieved it on the last ball of the match at the Wankhede Stadium when left-handed batsman Lukman Meriwala backcut K R Rakesh for a boundary when just one run was needed to make the grade. Baroda were stopped at 130 for eight to lose the game but entered the final on a superior net run rate (+0.774) than Kerala (+0.661) after both teams finished the group phase with 12 points.