Kerala bucked the odds to notch up a splendid 22-run win over Baroda at the Wankhede Stadium here on Saturday. Sachin Baby’s team ran out of luck though in the last over of a cliffhanger super league match in order to eliminate its fancied rival from the final of the BCCI Twenty20 tournament for the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy.

The teams tied on 12 points, but Lukman Meriwala’s last-ball boundary gave Baroda a superior net run rate (NRR) and it stayed on course for the title match to be played on Monday.

The top team from West Zone, Baroda needed 14 in the last over to be ahead of its rival on the NRR numbers. This arithmetic progression had shifted in favour of Kerala after it posted a formidable 152 put into bat. So Baroda actually looked towards the magic score of 127 to safeguard its place in the final.

The tense situation was probably playing havoc on the nerves of Kerala and Baroda’s eighth-wicket pair before the commencement of the 40th over and ironically it was the South team’s most successful wicket-taker, off-break bowler K.J. Rakesh, who offered opportunities for left- hander Krunal Pandya to lift two straight sixes, a chance for Rishi Arothe to run across for a single and then allow Meriwala to cut loose for the ball to race away to the fence.

Jafar Jamal (37, 25b, 4x4s, 1x6) and Raiphi Gomez (42 not out, 19b, 3x4s, 3x6s) gave true meaning to the glorious uncertainties aspect of the game. From a grim grim-looking 81 for five in the 15th over, Jamal and Gomez smashed seven 4s and four 6s for Kerala.

The non-availability of Yusuf Pathan and Irfan Pathan for the super league made Baroda a top heavy side with the responsibility on captain Aditya Waghmode and Kedar Devdhar. Looking at an initial target of 127, the left-right opening pair scored at almost seven an over, but Baroda pressed the panic button at the fall of Waghmode in the 13th over.

The scores: Kerala 152 for six in 20 overs (Rohan Prem 30, Jafer Jamal 37, Raiphi Gomez 42 n.o., Munaf Patel two for 26) bt Baroda 130 for eight in 20 overs (Aditya Waghmode 50, Krunal Pandya 22, Hardik Pandya 18, K.J. Rakesh three for 34, Rohan Prem two for 14). Kerala 4 (12), Baroda 0 (12).

Delhi 144 for four in 20 overs (Samarth Singh 23, Kshitiz Sharma 57, Yogesh Nagar 29 n.o., Vinod Chawariya two for 23) bt Rajasthan 137 in 19.4 overs (Ankit Lamba 30, Arjit Gupta 72, Javed Khan four for 18, Yogesh Nagar three for 13). Delhi 4 (8), Rajasthan 0 (8).


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