In a thrilling duel, Punjab held its nerve to pip Karnataka via ‘one over eliminator’ in the super league opener of the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 tournament at the Jadavpur University Ground here on Sunday.
In another match, Delhi recorded a thumping eight-wicket win over Tamil Nadu.
The encounter at the JU ground swung from side to side after Punjab inserted Karnataka in.
Manpreet Grewal's excellent opening spell, two for eight in four overs, built early pressure on Karnataka. Grewal had Mayank Agarwal in his first over and K. Gowtham in the next.
Medium pacer Baltej Singh removed Karun Nair, caught by Yuvraj Singh at square-leg, to reduce Karnataka to three for 35 in the fifth over.
R. Samarth (31 off 29) and C.M. Gautam (36 off 31) consolidated the innings by adding 64 runs before Punjab captain Harbhajan Singh claimed Samarth.
Baltej did more damage by scalping Stuart Binny and Gautam in one over, thanks to Yuvraj's spectacular catching on the square-leg boundary.
Aniruddha Joshi (40 off 19, 6x4, 1x6) and R.Vinay Kumar (15) put up an unbroken 47-run stand to post a fighting total.
A quick-fire 67-run partnership between Mandeep Singh (45 off 29, 7x4, 1x6) and Harbhajan (33 off 19, 5x4, 1x6) benefitted Punjab after Manan Vohra's fall.
Spinner Pravin Dubey dismissed Harbhajan and left-arm pacer Sreenath Aravind got rid of Mandeep and Yuvraj (29 off 25, 5x4) as Punjab managed to tie the scores.
In the tie-breaker, Yuvraj and Mandeep collected 15 off Gowtham, while Karnataka managed 11 for Nair's wicket against Siddharth Kaul.
At the Eden Gardens, captain Vijay Shankar (57 not out off 48, 4x4, 3x6) Baba Aparajith (45 off 32, 7x4) gathered 92 runs to rescue Tamil Nadu from 37 for three in the sixth over.
The Delhi pacers fought back brilliantly to concede only 27 runs in the last five overs as Tamil Nadu lost its way. Opener Bharath Shankar (24 off 17, 5x4) was the other notable scorer.
Khejroliya captured four wickets for his spirited effort.
Openers Rishabh Pant (58 off 33, 7x4, 3x6) and Gautam Gambhir (21 off 21, 2x4, 1x6) put up 43 runs to give Delhi a sound start. Pant, who limped later in his innings, took the game away from Tamil Nadu because of his ruthless assault.
Nitish Rana (34 not out off 14, 3x4, 3x6) and Dhruv Shorey (28 not out off 24, 2x4,1x6) maintained the tempo to witness Delhi's comfortable victory.
At Jadavpur University ground
Group A: Karnataka 158 for seven in 20 overs (Aniruddha not out 40, C.M. Gautam 36, R. Samarth 31, Baltej Singh three for 21, Manpreet Singh Grewal two for eight) tied with Punjab 158 for nine in 20 overs (Mandeep Singh 45, Harbhajan Singh 33, Yuvraj Singh 29, Sreenath Aravind four for 32, Pravin Dubey two for 12); Punjab 15 for no loss in one over bt Karnataka 11 for one in one over via one over eliminator.
Mumbai 170 for five in 20 overs (Siddhesh Lad 46, Aditya Tare 45, Surya Kumar Yadav not out 33, Atul Singh Surwar two for 35) bt Jharkhand 157 for seven in 20 overs (Virat Singh 81, Saurabh Tiwary 32, Akash Parkar two for 32).
At Eden Gardens
Group B: Tamil Nadu 145 for seven in 20 overs (Vijay Shankar not out 57, Baba Aparajith 45, Kulwant Khejroliya four for 26) lost to Delhi 146 for two in 15.2 overs (Rishabh Pant 58, Nitish Rana not out 34, Dhruv Shorey not out 28, Washington Sundar two for 32).
Baroda 149 in 20 overs (Vishnu Solanki 26, Sayan Ghosh three for 37, Manoj Tiwary two for 25, Kanishk Seth two for 26) bt Bengal 132 in 19.5 overs (Shreevats Goswami 58, Krunal Pandya three for 14, Lukman Meriwala three for 26, Soaeb Tai two for 27).
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