Sarfaraz Khan’s fine unbeaten 36 and Tanush Kotian’s all-round showing propelled 41-time Ranji Trophy champion Mumbai to its maiden title win in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy T20 tournament at the Eden Gardens here on Saturday.
Opting to field, Mumbai restricted Himachal to 143 for eight and overcame some tense moments to achieve the target with three wickets and as many balls to spare in the low-scoring final.
The Mumbai bowlers showed discipline and picked up wickets frequently to put Himachal under tremendous pressure.
Pacer Mohit Avasthi scalped Ankush Bains and Sumeet Verma early, while off-spinner Kotian bowled a good line and length to deal a double blow, removing Nikhil Gangta (22, 14b, 4x4) and Nitin Sharma, in one over.
Shivam Dube dismissed Rishi Dhawan and Kotian accounted for Prashant Chopra (19, 27b, 2x4) as Himachal tottered at 58 for six in the 10th over.
A confident Ekant Sen (37, 29b, 3x4, 2x6) and the reliable Akash Vashisht (25, 22b, 3x4) batted resolutely to add 60 runs in 46 deliveries.
Aman Khan broke the partnership by having Akash caught at long-off.
Avasthi claimed Ekant to secure his third wicket as Ajinkya Rahane took a fine catch at cover.
Mayank Dagar’s cameo (21 n.o., 12b, 2x4, 1x6) gave Himachal a total to fight for.
Mumbai stuttered a bit, losing Prithvi Shaw and Rahane cheaply before Yashasvi Jaiswal (27, 28b, 3x4, 1x6) and Shreyas Iyer (34, 26b, 4x4, 1x6) steadied the innings by adding 41 off 34.
Shreyas cut and drove nicely in his knock before being caught and bowled by Vaibhav Arora in the 14th over.
Himachal bowlers executed their plans well to take three more wickets and give hard times to Mumbai.
However, the responsible Sarfaraz Khan (36 n.o., 31b, 3x4, 1x6), dropped on 19, kept his cool before plundering 17 runs, including two fours and a six, in the penultimate over by K.D. Singh.
Player-of-the-match Kotian (9 n.o., 5b,1x6) hooked Rishi for a six to win it in style.
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