Uttarakhand found the going much tougher than expected on way to beating fellow debutant Puducherry and staying atop the points-table in Pool ‘E’ of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy T20 cricket tournament here on Sunday.
Before Uttarakhand squeezed out a nervous 10-run win, Services surprised a previously-unbeaten Maharashtra by six wickets. Baroda added to the woes of Hyderabad by inflicting a four-wicket defeat. The third defeat in as many matches has effectively dashed Hyderabad’s hope of reaching the Super League.
In the day’s other match, Uttar Pradesh attained its objective of improving its net run-rate by batting first and beating Tripura by a handsome margin of 58 runs.
After three rounds, Uttarakhand leads with 12 points – four more than UP, Maharashtra, Services and Baroda. Puducherry (4) is ahead of the winless duo of Hyderabad and Tripura.
Much like UP, Uttarakhand also chose to bat in the afternoon with an eye on a big total. But once the top four wickets fell for 65 in the 11th over, the resurrection was left to Vijay Sharma (30 not out, 25b, 2x4) and Shivam Khurana (29, 23b, 1x4, 2x6) who added 48 runs for the fifth wicket. Raturi’s flourish resulted in a 10-ball 16 which proved crucial following the low margin of victory.
If Baroda stayed on cruise mode against Hyderabad, it was mainly due to Vishnu Solanki’s two fruitful stands in the chase of a modest 131. After Mehdi Hasan struck twice in the second over to send back the openers, Solanki contributed a 38-ball 40 dotted with four boundaries.
He added 52 runs for the third wicket with Deepak Hooda (35, 30b, 5x4) and another 47 with Swapnil Singh (36 not out, 29b, 4x4, 1x6) for the fifth wicket to bring Baroda closer to an important win.
Earlier, Rishi Arothe struck four times to restrict Hyderabad. Though opener Akshath Reddy (46, 44b, 5x4) and B. Sandeep (39, 34b, 3x4, 1x6) put on 48 runs in 41 deliveries for the third wicket, they did not inspire much confidence in the Hyderbad dugout. Ambati Rayudu’s struggle continued following a 16-ball 17.
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