Uttar Pradesh achieved a thrilling smash-and-grab win to send defending champion Baroda packing out of the Airtel Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 tournament at the Holkar Stadium on Friday.

Chasing a meagre 129, Piyush Chawla’s team seemed to have lost the plot when it needed 14 to win off three deliveries.

However, medium-pacer Imtiyaz Ahmad had other ideas as he sandwiched a double between two meaty sixes off Ajitesh Argal’s bowling to clinch victory for his side.

Earlier, Chawla had inserted the opposition into bat and the UP bowlers justified the decision by restricting the flow of runs, in addition to taking wickets at regular intervals.

Baroda, however, did well to recover from 47 for three after 10 overs to eventually post 128.

Though it didn’t seem to be a challenging target, the UP batsmen made a mess of it by failing to rotate the strike constantly.

As the required rate rose steadily, the attendant pressure brought wickets for Baroda before Ahmad’s star turn won the points for his team.

UP will now meet Punjab in its final group B game on Saturday with the loser exiting the competition.

The winner, however, will have to wait for the result of Karnataka’s match against Baroda later in the day after the former defeated Bengal by four wickets in the other pool match on Friday.

If Karnataka wins, the identity of the finalist from this group will be determined on the basis of net run-rate. Otherwise, UP or Punjab will progress to the final. Bengal is no longer in contention after suffering two consecutive losses.

Kerala in control

In group A, however, Kerala is in firm control of its destiny and needs to defeat Gujarat to book its spot in the summit clash.

The Sachin Baby-led side maintained its 100 per cent record at the Emerald Heights School as it overcame Odisha by six wickets on Thursday.

The latter’s defeat ensured that it will join Delhi and Vidarbha on their way to the exit gate.

Vidarbha suffered a three-wicket defeat at the hands of Gujarat, which remains with an outside chance of making the final on Sunday.

The scores:

Group A: Odisha 125 for eight in 20 overs (Ankit Yadav 28) lost to Kerala 126 for four in 19.2 overs (Sanju Viswanadh 41 n.o., Sachin Baby 33). Points: Kerala 4 (12), Odisha 0 (4).

Vidarbha 156 for seven in 20 overs (Faiz Fazal 27, Shalabh Shrivastava 34, Jasprit Bumrah three for 33) lost to Gujarat 157 for seven in 19.1 overs (Niraj Patel 47, Jesal Karia 47, Shrikant Wagh three for 29). Gujarat 4 (8), Vidarbha 0 (4).

Group B: Baroda 128 for eight in 20 overs (Hardik Pandya 37 n.o., Amit Mishra three for 23) lost to Uttar Pradesh 129 for eight in 20 overs (Murtuja Vahora three for 13). UP 4 (8), Baroda 0 (0).

Bengal 151 for seven in 20 overs (Sayan Mondal 42, Debabrata Das 31, Arnab Nandi 37 n.o.) lost to Karnataka 152 for six in 19.2 overs (Robin Uthappa 41, K.L. Rahul 51, Mohammad Shami three for 39). Karnataka 4 (8), Bengal 0 (8).

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