Mushtaq Ali Trophy: Saurashtra thrives on Unadkat’s knock

While the team’s big guns, including India star Cheteshwar Pujara failed, the Jaydev Unadkat, who played for India two years ago, came good with the bat blasting 39 off just 19 balls with two sixes and five fours.

Left-arm paceman Jaydev Unadkat has been working on his batting and it was evident in recent Mushtaq Ali Trophy match on Thursday.   -  H. Vibhu

He has been working on his batting for the last couple of months and it showed as Jaydev Unadkat top-scored as Saurashtra defeated Team Rajasthan by 25 runs in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy National T20 cricket tournament here on Thursday.

While the team’s big guns, including India star Cheteshwar Pujara failed, the 24-year-old left-arm medium-pacer, who played for India two years ago, came good with the bat blasting 39 off just 19 balls with two sixes and five fours.

When he came in to bat in the 15th over, Saurashtra was in big trouble at 77 for five. The fireworks soon started as Unadkat and Deepak Punia went on a big-hitting spree and put on an unbeaten 63-run sixth-wicket stand.

“I was a good allrounder during my school days, I was a big hitter too and I always knew I could do it. But I wasn’t focusing much on batting in the nets earlier, I wasn’t giving much time to it,” said Unadkat.

“I have been working on my batting the last two months. Pujara, my best friend, has also been helping me. Probably that’s the reason I’m middling the ball really well.”

And after posting his personal best T20 batting score today, Unadkat feels that his form has come good at the right time.

“It has come at the proper time I would say since I’ve been released by Delhi Daredevils and will be in the IPL auction.”

While Unadkat hit a high, Rajasthan’s C.K. Singh finished on the losing side despite an allround performance, taking three wickets for 13 and scoring 24 runs, which included three sixes.

Team Rajasthan, which began the championship with a shocking victory over last year’s runner-up Punjab, never really settled down against the Saurashtra attack which was loaded with medium-pacers. Three of Rajasthan batsmen were out without scoring and there were three run-outs which indicated the desperate situation.

In other matches, Ian Chauhan’s unbeaten 67 (62 balls, 8x4) went in vain as Jharkhand thrashed Jammu and Kashmir by 76 runs, while Punjab, as expected, scored an easy eight-wicket win over Tripura.

Three teams — Saurashtra, Punjab and Jharkhand — are now tied for the second spot with three wins (12 points) behind the pool leader Kerala (four wins, 16 points).

There will be no match on Friday and the race for the two super-league berths will get really hot over the championship’s last two days.

BRIEF SCORES

Saurashtra 140 for five in 20 overs (A.A. Barot 27, Deepak Punia 30 n.o., Jaydev Unadkat 39 n.o., C.K. Singh three for 13) beat Team Rajasthan 115 in 19.3 overs (C.K. Singh 36, Shaurya Sanandia three for 13, Perak Mankad two for 27).

Tripura 96 in 18 overs (Sarbjeet Ladda three for 30, Gurinder Singh two for 13, Harbhajan Singh two for 17, Pargat Singh two for 13) lost to Punjab 100 for two in 15.3 overs (Manan Vohra 35, A.R.K. Malhotra 40).

Jharkhand 179 for four in 20 overs (Shasheem 50, Saurabh Tiwary 57 n.o., Sumit Kumar 39, Rahil Singh two for 43) beat Jammu & Kashmir 103 for seven in 20 overs (Ian Chauhan 67 n.o., Vikash two for 18, Sonu Kumar Singh two for 16, Shahbas Nadeem two for 16).