Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy: Punjab to play Baroda in final

Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy: Punjab to play Baroda in finalMumbai: Punjab took measure of a strong Mumbai outfit and romped home by five wickets in their semi-final encounter of Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy at Bandra Kurla Complex Mumbai on Monday. Meanwhile Baroda defeated Delhi by seven wickets in a high-scoring first semifinal and will lock horns with Punjab for the title on Tuesday.

Winning the toss, Punjab skipper Harbhajan Singh opted to field. Mumbai opened with Wasim Jaffar and Ajinkya Rahane to the bowling of VRV Singh and Manpreet Singh Gony. Gony struck the first blow for Punjab when he had Wasim Jaffar snapped by Mandeep Singh for 13.

Thereafter Harbhajan Singh effected a run out, disposing off Abhishek Nair for eight. Bipul Sharma then got through the defence of Ajinkya Rahane who was bowled neck and crop for 21 off 20 balls inclusive of two boundaries and one six. Rohit Sharma after his successful stint in Asia Cup was snared by his Indian team mate right arm leg spinner Rahul Sharma, who induced an edge to be taken by Amitoze Singh for 16. Mumbai lost their way when another run out effected by Mandeep Singh-Chandan Madan combine saw the back of S.A. Yadav who was looking good with 20 off 18 balls.

Mumbai lost the plot thereafter losing four quick wickets of Aditya Tare (10), Iqbal Abdullah (07) Ajit Agarkar (09) and Ankit Chavan (02).  Mumbai could manage 122 for 9 off 20 overs. For Punjab Manpreet Gony 3 for 32, Rahul Sharma 2 for 15, Bipul Sharma 1 for 10 and VRV Singh 1 for 28 were the most successful bowlers.

Chasing the target, Punjab scored 124 for five in 19 overs and won the match by five wickets.

Punjab opened with Sarul Kanwar and Chandan Madan. Sarul was the first to go when he was trapped in front of the wicket by Dhawal Kulkarni for 17 off 15 balls which included one boundary and a six. Gurkirat Mann, who came in next, was cleaned up by Javed Khan for seven. Thereafter Mandeep Singh and Chandan Madan put their heads together to put the Punjab innings on track. Mandeep Singh was eventually caught by Rohit Sharma off Iqbal Abdullah for 22 off 22 deliveries inclusive of one towering six. Iqbal Abdullah struck again to dispose off Bipul Sharma for two. He further made inroads in the Punjab batting lineup when he had opener Chandan Madan stumped by Aditya Tare after the batsman had scored a match winning  55 off 44 balls studded with nine boundaries. Taruwar Kohli unbeaten seven and Amitoze Singh unbeaten 11 saw their team reach the victory target without being separated.

For Mumbai Iqbal Abdullah 3 for 20, Dhawal Kulkarni 1 for 14 and Javed Khan 1 for 25 were the main wicket takers.

Meanwhile Baroda had disposed off Delhi by winning their semi finals by seven wickets. Chasing a formidable 170, Baroda cantered to win in 17.1 overs with Kedar Devdhar (96) and Aditya Waghmode (60) smashing Delhi bowlers all around the park.

Devdhar's scintillating knock came off just 40 balls at a staggering strike rate of 240, hitting six sixes and 11 boundaries. Waghmode consumed the same number of balls for his fine fifty and shared a 143-run stand with Devdhar.

Delhi posted a competitive 169 for nine thanks to Shikhar Dhawan's 62 off 43 balls. The other contributions came from Mithun Manhas (23), Rajat Bhatia (27) and Yogesh Nagar (21).