Syed Mushtaq Ali T20: Gujarat gives Mumbai a lifeline

Priyank Panchal and bowlers helped Gujarat defeat Saurashtra by eight wickets; in another contest, Baroda beat Maharashtra.

Priyank Panchal’s 76 helped Gujarat reach its target at a canter.   -  Kamesh Srinivasan (File Photo)

Having returned home after finishing their games of the West Zone Twenty20 League games - the team was the first among five to do so - a majority of Mumbai's players were relaxing with their family and friends on Saturday. But their fingers were glued to the mobile phone screens as they were anxiously tracking Gujarat's match against host Saurashtra.

Mumbai was hoping Gujarat pulled off a heist against the host to help Aditya Tare's boys finish second in the league to qualify for the all-India Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy along with topper Baroda. For Saurashtra, the morning game was a virtual knock-out game.

Vishvarajsinh Jadeja (48 off 32b, 3x4, 1x6) didn't get any support from the other end as the host crumbled in a do-or-die situation to fold up for a below-par 133. Priyank Panchal (76 off 54b, 10x4, 1x6), the Ranji Trophy run-machine, then ensured that Gujarat signed off the tournament with a consolation win.

Read - Syed Mushtaq Ali T20: Services, J&K spring a surprise

Gujarat's win, however, resulted in the Mumbai camp wearing smiling faces back home. Saurashtra coach Shitanshu Kotak, on the other hand, wore a hapless look for a better part of the remaining day at the Saurashtra Cricket Association stadium.

Deepak Hooda scores half-century

But Mumbai couldn't really burst into celebrations until the last match of the league stage had ended. If Maharashtra had beaten Baroda in the concluding fixture, it would have led to a triple-tie between Mumbai, Saurashtra and Maharashtra on eight points. The net run-rate would have the second-placed team. But for Maharashtra to have any chance of a win, it had to register a win by more than 100 runs against Baroda.

But an on-song Baroda, despite losing the top three in the first four overs, made a mockery of a target of 179 set by Maharashtra. The team was helped on its way by captain Deepak Hooda, who scored his second fifty of the tournament (57 off 34b, 4x4, 2x6), Swapnil Singh (36 off 26b, 2x4, 1x6), who played a sterling knock before being forced to retire hurt with an injured hamstring, and Vishnu Solanki (42 n.o. off 21b, 2x4, 3x6), who conjured the perfect finishing act.

“Overall, we played well and were a little bit lucky as well. We tried out various combinations and the white-ball specialists are settling down. I am confident the team will put up a much better performance in Kolkata next week,” a relieved Mumbai coach Sameer Dighe told Sportstar.

While Dighe can start planning for the Kolkata trip, his Maharashtra counterpart will have plenty to ponder as its third loss of the league resulted in the team finishing at the bottom of the table.

Brief scores
  • Saurashtra 133 all out in 19.2 overs (Vishvarajsinh Jadeja 48; Jayveer Parmar four for 18, Piyush Chawla two for 24, Ishwar Choudhary two for 30) lost to Gujarat 137 for two in 18.1 overs (Priyank Panchal 76, Bhargav Merai 35 n.o.; Shaurya Sanandia two for 25).
  • Maharashtra 178 for six in 20 overs (Ruturaj Gaikwad 52, Rahul Tripathi 30, Vijay Zol 28; Atit Sheth three for 21) lost to Baroda 179 for five in 18.3 overs (Deepak Hooda 57, Vishnu Solanki 42 n.o., Swapnil Singh 36 retired hurt; Domnic Muthuswami three for 24).
  • Final standings: Baroda (16 points), Mumbai (8), Saurashtra (8), Gujarat (4), Maharashtra (4).