Anmolpreet Singh chose the perfect day to score his maiden T20 century as his 113 helped Punjab clinch its maiden Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy title, beating Baroda in the final by 20 runs, here at the IS Bindra stadium on Monday.
Ninad Rathva (47 off 22) and Abhimanyusingh Rajput (61 off 42) had kept Baroda in the hunt, with its chase aided by four dropped catches by Punjab.
But the fate of the game was sealed in the penultimate over of a thrilling run chase when Arshdeep Singh brought his A-game to pick the wickets of Krunal Pandya (45 off 32), Shivalik Sharma, and Bhanu Pania. The left-arm pacer, who had only picked six wickets before today, ended up with a four-fer, giving away just 23 runs and getting his team home.
Despite the dew settling in the second half, making it difficult for the spinners to grip the ball, a target of 224 proved too much for Baroda.
Earlier, Anmolpreet smacked a 58-ball ton and added 138 runs for the fourth wicket with Nehal Wadhera, who scored an entertaining 61 in just 27 balls.
Punjab was asked to bat after losing the toss and was under pressure at 80/3. It lost star-performer Abhishek Sharma for a golden duck, Prabhsimran Singh for nine, and Krunal Pandya removed a reverse-sweeping Mandeep Singh on 32.
But Anmolpreet-Nehal took over from there, entertaining the partisan crowd that kept chanting and applauding with each run put on the scoreboard.
The Baroda bowlers kept missing their line and lengths, and the Punjab duo kept their composure, sending each full toss towards the fence. The batters racked up nine sixes and three fours off the last 21 deliveries to get the team to 223/4.
The winning Punjab team will get INR 80 lakhs each from the BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India) and the PCA (Punjab Cricket Association).
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