Baroda rode 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. Baroda was deployed at Sardar Patel Stadium and posted a competitive 160 for 3 and then limited Punjab to 135 for 8. Half a century of skipper Devdhar (64 of 49 balls) and kartik Kakade with two down (53 not 41 balls) the basis for Baroda’s total. Baroda lost opener to Ninad Rathva (15) early on when he was cleared by veteran pacemaker Siddharth Kaul (1/31).
Then in-form Vishnu Solanki (12) and Devdhar teamed up to take 14 runs from the sixth when Baroda finished the power play at 44 for 1.
When it looked like the two would take the match away from Punjab, young leggie Mayank Markande (1/29) got it right and turned Solanki upside down in the ninth while Baroda dropped to 57 for 2.
Devdhar took life on 31 when Kaul dropped a short-fine-legged skier.
He seized the opportunity with both hands and along with Kakade added 93 runs for the third wicket.
Kakade hammered five bounds and two sixes and was ably supported by Devdhar, who later switched. Devdhar’s knock was laced with four fours and three sixes. Baroda added 54 runs in the last five overs.
In the chase of 161, Punjab was never on course. They lost opener Abhishek Sharma (5) in the second over.
Pacer Lukman Meriwala (3/28) struck again when he dismissed in-form Prabhsimran Singh (15), who held back in depth as Punjab dropped to 21 for 2.
Anmolpreet Singh (15) also failed to convert his start and in an attempt to catch up with the required run-rate, he was in the deep end.
Baroda kept pushing in as they sent Ramandeep Singh (6) away and Ninad Rathva (2/18) registered his second scalp of the day.
The run-rate push got Gurkeerat Mann (39), who was also in depth, as Punjab lost half its side to 85.
Skipper Mandeep Singh (42 not from), who injured his shoulder during field work and came out to beat the order, did his best but couldn’t take his she home.
Baroda will now face Tamil Nadu in Sunday’s top bout.
Short scores: Baroda 160/3 (Kedar Devdhar 64; Kartik Kakade 53 not out; Mayank Markande 1/29, Siddharth Kaul 1/31) defeated Punjab 135/8 (Mandeep Singh 42 not out, Gurkeerat Mann 39; Lukman Meriwala 3/28, Ninad Rathva 2/18) with 25 runs.
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