Baroda and Kerala kept themselves in the hunt for a berth in the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 All India tournament final by defeating Rajasthan and Bengal respectively in low-scoring Group B matches in Mumbai on Friday.
Baroda chased the meagre target of of 104 set by Rajasthan to win comprehensively by ten wickets at the Wankhede Stadium, for their third win on the trot. On the other hand, Kerala defended their modest score of 101 for 8 by bundling out Bengal for a pathetic 82 to win by 19 runs at the Sharad Pawar Indoor Academy ground in the Bandra-Kurla Complex for their second win in three games.
Though Rajasthan lost to Baroda, they still have an outside chance to go through if Kerala defeat Baroda tomorrow and they get the better of Delhi, the fifth team in the group, as a triple-way tie on points would result in the net run-rate determining the group winners.
Going into the last day’s group phase on Saturday, Baroda are top of the table with 12 points followed by Kerala and Rajasthan with 8 points apiece. Baroda, who just need to win tomorrow to qualify for the April 14 final here, lead in the net run-rate too with +1.405 followed by Kerala (+0.515) and Rajasthan (-0.219).
Left-arm medium pacer Manukrishnan led the spirited bowling performance with a brilliant haul of 4 for 6 as Kerala outwit Bengal after being dismissed cheaply. Bengal were bundled out for 82 with 19 balls to spare.
Defending a small total, Basil Thampy provided the initial breakthrough for Kerala when opener Vivek Singh was caught behind by Sanju Samson in the first over. Manukrishnan then got into the act by picking up a wicket in each of his four overs for splendid figures of 4-1-6-4, which left Bengal reeling at 46 for six in the 10th over.
Gujarat beat UP
Meanwhile in Rajkot, Priyank Panchal’s all-round performance helped Gujarat beat Uttar Pradesh by 34 runs in the Syed Mustaq Ali trophy Group A match.
Electing to bat first, Gujarat made 184 runs for the loss of four wickets and then bundled out Uttar Pradesh for 150 at the Saurashtra Cricket Association (SCA) Stadium, Khandheri.
Panchal made 77 with 12 fours and a six in his 52-ball knock and then took four wickets, conceding only 19 runs in his four-over spell. Chasing the target, Mukul Dagar was the only batsman who kept fighting to score 58 runs with ten fours and a six off 35 balls. Uttar Pradesh were bundled out on the last ball of the match making 150.
Also in Rajkot, a composed half century by skipper Swapnil Asnodkar and fine bowling by Gauresh Gawas helped Goa beat Jharkhand by 58 runs in their Group A game.
Brief scores: Kerala 101/8 (R Prem 51; P Chakraborty 2/9, S Lahiri 2/11) bt Bengal 82/10 (A Ghosh 27; Manukrishnan 4/6)
Rajasthan 103/10 (P Yadav 34; L Meriwala 3/12, R Arothe 3/29) lost to Baroda 105/0 (K Devdhar 45, A Waghmode 50)
Gujarat 184/4 (P Panchal 77, R Darbar 35) bt Uttar Pradesh 150/10 (M Dagar 55; P Panchal 4/19, R Bhatt 3/15).