Rohan Prem’s unbeaten 92 led Kerala to a stunning six-wicket win over Delhi in a Group ‘A’ contest on the opening day of the Airtel-Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy T20 tournament here on Tuesday.

Chasing a stiff target of 196, Kerala began slowly, scoring just 11 in the first three overs while losing opener Nikhilesh Surendran.

However, Prem smashed 20 off the fourth over bowled by Vikas Tokas. After V.A. Jagadeesh and Sanju Viswanadh were dismissed in the space of 17 balls, Kerala needed 107 off 58 deliveries when captain Sachin Baby joined Prem.

The skipper began in ominous fashion, switch-hitting Pawan Negi for four. In the company of Prem, Baby added 83 off the next 38 deliveries. The captain hammered 48 off 19 deliveries and Kerala needed 24 off 3.2 overs when he left. However, Prem ensured that the remaining runs were knocked off in just eight balls!

Unmukt on fire

Earlier, Unmukt Chand’s pulverising century led Delhi to a formidable total after it was asked to bat. The under-19 World Cup-winning captain took the Kerala bowlers to the cleaners with 12 fours and four sixes, most of them hit through cover and square leg.

Meanwhile, Karnataka began its campaign with a thrilling two-wicket victory over Punjab in a Group ‘B’ contest at the Holkar Stadium.

Electing to field, Vinay Kumar’s side weathered a good start by Punjab to eventually dismiss its opponent for 129 in 18.1 overs. The latter suffered a dramatic collapse after being 105 for three at one stage. Ravinder Singh provided the lone resistance for Punjab, scoring 60 off 44 balls.

In reply, Karnataka was in deep trouble at 44 for four in the ninth over before it was rescued by Manish Pandey and then by C.M. Gautam. The latter perished when the team was 13 short of the target.

Needing seven to win off the last over with two wickets in hand, Abhimanyu Mithun took his team home by hitting a six off Amitoze Singh’s fourth delivery.

The scores:

Group ‘A’: Delhi 195 for four in 20 overs (Unmukt Chand 105, Punit Bisht 28, Milind Kumar 48) lost to Kerala 197 for four in 18 overs (Rohan Prem 92 n.o., Sachin Baby 48). Points: Kerala 4, Delhi 0.

Odisha 151 for six in 20 overs (Govind Poddar 40, Biplab Samantray 33, Subhrajit Sahoo 37) lost to Gujarat 152 for seven in 19.5 overs (Parthiv Patel 29, Niraj Patel 40, Jesal Karia 29, Basant Mohanty three for 27). Gujarat 4, Odisha 0.

Group ‘B’: Bengal 149 for four in 20 overs (Shreevats Goswami 48, Subhomoy Das 28, Laxmi Ratan Shukla 50) bt Baroda 145 for nine in 20 overs (Aditya Waghmode 47, Sayan Mondal three for 19). Bengal 4, Baroda 0.

Punjab 129 in 18.1 overs (Ravinder Singh 60, Stuart Binny three for 26) lost to Karnataka 133 for eight in 19.4 overs (Manish Pandey 31, C.M. Gautam 31). Karnataka 4, Punjab 0.

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