Prashant Gupta (102 n.o., 58 balls) piloted Uttar Pradesh to a six-wicket victory over Haryana in the penultimate Group A Super League encounter for the Mushtaq Ali Trophy at the SCA Stadium on Saturday. UP qualified for the final, which is to be held in Mumbai on April 14.

“I did not know how to react as this was my first in this format. I wanted to reduce dot balls to the minimum and play shots to balls pitched in my zone,” said the 25-year-old.

Goa second

Goa finished second, beating holder Gujarat by four wickets.

Needing 181 in 88 balls (14.4 overs) at 12-plus per over, Goa was on course for a spectacular win, but used two balls more than required (181 for six in 15 overs) to get over the line (12 points and NRR 0.8788 inferior to 0.9061 for UP (12 points).

Haryana’s 178 appeared out of reach for UP due to initial setbacks before Gupta carried his bat to guide his team home in 19.2 overs (179 for four). He lost Mukul Dagar in the second over, forcing a rethink of priorities.

“Mukul is our in-form batsman, so I told myself that someone from the top-order needs to be at the crease. The change of pace was tough to spot against medium-pacers.

“I did nothing special, just kept going without getting distracted by wickets falling at the other end.”  Crisp cover drives earned him five boundaries and height was used to loft over the cover fielder.

“You need to respect the bowler in the first few overs, get into the right frame of mind and then runs will come, ” said the opener, slamming seven sixes against spinners to cross 50 in 37 balls and streaked past century in 55 balls.

Bowlers were at the receiving end again in the afternoon when Goa captain Swapnil Asnodkar displayed sensational power and timing (10x4, 2x6). The challenge was to overhaul Gujarat’s 180 for six in 14.4 overs. The opener played upper-cuts and scoops to race to 64 off 28 balls. Keenan Vaz (27 off eight) lent support to effect a sensational win.

Brief scores: Haryana 178 for eight in 20 overs (Avi Barot 35, Rahul Dewan 46, Guntaveer Singh 21, Rahul Dalal 24, Ali Murtuza two for 32, Akshdeep Nath two for 35, Praveen Gupta two for 41) lost to Uttar Pradesh 179 for four in 19.2 overs (Prashant Gupta 102 not out, Akshdeep Nath 24, Ashish Hooda two for 28). UP: 4, Haryana: 0.Gujarat 180 for five in 20 overs (Priyank Panchal 47, Rajdeep Darbar 43, Smit Patel 50, Amit Yadav two for 34) lost to Goa 181 for six in 15 overs (Swapnil Asnodkar 64, Keenan Vaz 27, Amit Yadav 28, Rohit Asnodkar 29, Harshad Gadekar 23, K. Thakore four for 35). Goa: 4, Gujarat 0).Final points position/NRR: 1. UP 12/0.9061, 2. Goa 12/0.8788, 3. Haryana 8/0.0482, 4. Gujarat 8/0.0257,  5. Jharkhand 0/-1.7538.

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