Syed Mushtaq Ali T20: Delhi holds nerve in thriller to reach final

Delhi will meet Rajasthan in the final at the Eden Gardens on Friday.

Pant drove and pulled with confidence to get his second fifty of the tournament.   -  Shiv Kumar Pushpakar

Delhi bowlers ensured Rishabh Pant's power-packed half-century did not go in vain, trumping Uttar Pradesh (UP) by three runs in a thrilling Group B super league engagement to reach the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 tournament final on Thursday.

Inserted in at the Jadavpur University ground here, Delhi rode on Pant's 34-ball 58, studded with five fours and three sixes, to score 140 for nine and restricted Uttar Pradesh to 137 for its third win.

Delhi will meet Rajasthan in the final at the Eden Gardens on Friday. Rajasthan made it to the title clash despite losing to Punjab by five runs in its last Group A encounter.

Pant shines with the bat

Pant and Dhruv Shorey (12) steadied Delhi's ship with a 38-run stand after Gautam Gambhir was dismissed in the first over. Pant, who hammered 17 off Amit Mishra's second over, scored freely even as wickets kept falling at the other end.

Pant drove and pulled with confidence to get his second fifty of the tournament. The wicketkeeper-batsman, who was done in by Rinku Singh's direct throw from midwicket, was the fifth wicket to fall.

Despite UP's economical bowling - it conceded only 31 in the last five overs - and excellent fielding, Delhi reached 140 thanks largely to Milind Kumar's useful 28-ball 32 and Pradeep Sangwan's 11-ball 14.

UP stutters after quick start

UP, which had raced to 43 for one after six overs, struggled when the opposition bowlers nipped out three wickets in three consecutive overs.

Suresh Raina (16) fell to pacer Subodh Bhati in the seventh over, while Umang Sharma was snared by off-spinner Lalit Yadav. Akshdeep Nath was brilliantly caught by Pant off Bhati.

Left-hander Rinku Singh (34 off 26, 4x4, 1x6) and Sarfaraz Khan (13) put up a 41-run partnership before Pawan Negi struck twice in the 16th over to leave UP reeling at 100 for six after 15 overs. Sarfaraz was caught at long on, while Rinku was out sweeping to leg-slip.

UP lost two more wickets in the next over, but southpaw Saurabh Kumar's valiant stroke play kept it in contention. With 13 needed off the last over, Saurabh pulled (33 off 18, 2x4, x6) Bhati for a six but was run out while completing his second run, thus allowing Delhi defend its aggregate.

The scores:

At Jadavpur University ground:

Group B: Tamil Nadu 123 for seven in 20 overs (S. Aniruda not out 32, N. Jagadeeshan 28) lost to Baroda 125 for five in 17.1 overs (Kedar Devdhar 68, Swapnil Singh 29).

Delhi 140 for nine in 20 overs (Rishabh Pant 58, Milind Kumar 32, Israr Azim two for 12, Mohsin Khan two for 29, Ankit Rajpoot two for 33) bt Uttar Pradesh 137 in 20 overs (Rinku Singh 34, Saurabh Kumar 33, Pawan Negi two for 13, Subodh Bhati two for 28).

At Eden Gardens:

Group A: Punjab 129 for nine in 20 overs (Harbhajan Singh 32, Sharad Lumba 31, Khaleel Ahmed three for 17, Deepak Chahar two for nine, Rahul Chahar two for 19) bt Rajasthan 124 for eight in 20 overs (Ankit Lamba 47, Brainder Singh Sran three for 22, Manpreet Grewal two for 20).

Group A: Mumbai 174 for eight in 20 overs (Suryakumar Yadav not out 59, Siddhesh Lad 52, Akhil Herwadkar 31, Stuart Binny three for 36, Shreyas Gopal two for 22) lost to Karnataka 176 for three in 18.4 overs (Mayank Agarwal 77, Pavan Deshpande not out 48, Karun Nair 30, Dhawal Kulkarni two for 36).