Syed Mushtaq Ali: Maharashtra set to qualify, Uttarakhand faces elimination

In the sixth and penultimate round of league matches, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh cruised to impressive victories, improved its net run-rate and stayed in the lead with 20 points.

Rahul Tripathi plays a shot en route to his half-century.   -  Shiv Kumar Pushpakar

Maharashtra looks set to top Group E following a resounding seven-wicket win over Baroda while Uttarakhand is on the verge of missing out on a qualifying spot for the Super League stage of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy tournament on Thursday.

In the sixth and penultimate round of league matches, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh cruised to impressive victories, improved its net run-rate and stayed in the lead with 20 points.

Following its 10-wicket drubbing on Tuesday, Uttarakhand crashed to a massive 118-run loss as Uttar Pradesh improved its chances of grabbing one of the two qualifying berths.

Uttarakhand, winner of the first four rounds, slipped to the joint-third with Services at 16 points.

Openers Samarth Singh (75) and Akshdeep Nath (70) laid the foundation with an 123-run partnership on which Uttar Pradesh went on to post 209 for the loss of six wickets.

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Once the chase began, Saurabh Kumar (five for 28) struck twice early and then polished off the tail by adding three more wickets. This led to Uttarakhand being bowled out for an embarrassing 91 in the 17th over.

Two huge defeats have done serious damage to Uttarakhand’s net run-rate as the team failed to touch the three-figure mark for the second day in succession.

After a day’s rest, the final league engagements on Saturday will witness Maharashtra against bottom-placed Tripura, Uttar Pradesh playing Baroda, a vastly softened-up Uttarakhand taking on a battered Hyderabad and Services looking to add Pondicherry to its list of conquests.

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The day did witness Tripura score its first win after stopping Pondicherry in an inconsequential match, while a determined Services collected another win after getting past a disinterested Hyderabad.

In an intense clash, skipper Rahul Tripathy played his part as Maharashtra bounced back against Baroda and chased down the target with ease. The captain showed the way with a 49-ball 70 in shaping an important win.

Electing to bat, Baroda was off to a flying start but none among the top three batsmen went on make the most of the starts they got.

Kedar Devdhar, Mitesh Patel and Deepak Hooda faltered to deceive before Yusuf Patel perished in the final over without providing a late flourish.

With Tripathy and Ruturaj Gaikwad setting the pace with an opening 98-run stand, Maharashtra never looked in trouble.

Brief scores:

Uttar Pradesh 209 for six in 20 overs (Samarth Singh 75, Aksh Deep Nath 70, Rinku Singh 28) beats Uttarakhand 91 in 16.3 overs (Saurabh Rawat 30, Saurabh Kumar five for 28, Ankit Choudhary three for nine) by 118 runs.

Baroda 163 for seven in 20 overs (Kedar Devdhar 38, Mitesh Patel 29, Deepak Hooda 28, Yusuf Pathan 28) lost to Maharashtra 164 for three in 19.2 overs (Rahul Tripathi 70, Ruturaj Gaikwad 48) by seven wickets.

Hyderabad 135 for eight in 20 overs (Akshath Reddy 34, T. Ravi Teja 31 not out) lost to Services 141 for six in 19.4 overs (Vikas Hathwala 61 not out, Rajat Paliwal 27, Mohammad Siraj four for 20) by four wickets.

Pondicherry 102 for nine in 20 overs (Rohit Daggar 54, Rana Datta four for 20) lost to Tripura 105 for two in 17 overs (U. Bose 72 not out) by eight wickets.