Ravinder Singh’s third consecutive half-century in the Airtel Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 tournament led Punjab to a vital 25-run win against Bengal in group B on Thursday.
Battling for its survival in the competition, Mandeep Singh’s side successfully defended 168 to hand Bengal its first defeat.
In group A at the Emerald Heights School, Delhi suffered a shock seven-wicket defeat at the hands of Odisha after it was shot out for 80. Medium-pacer Suryakant Pradhan was the wrecker-in-chief as he claimed four wickets.
Choosing to bat, the skipper and Ravinder established a good platform for Punjab by scoring 46 for the opening wicket before the former was dismissed by Sayan Mondal in the seventh over.
The latter, however, guided the innings along and, with some assistance by Mayank Sidana and Gurkeerat Singh, ensured that his team posted a competitive total.
The pitch at the Holkar Stadium for this match had not been used until Thursday and it turned out to be slightly slower than the one on which both teams had played before.
The Punjab pace trio of Siddarth Kaul, Manpreet Grewal and Amitoze Singh adapted well to the new track to stymie the progress of Bengal’s chase and it eventually fell 25 runs short.
Earlier in the day, Uttar Pradesh posted 163 and denied Karnataka victory, to claim its first points of the tournament.
Piyush Chawla’s team was put into bat by Vinay Kumar and it lost Prashant Gupta early. Things could have been worse for UP but Mohammad Kaif was dropped when on nought by Robin Uthappa off S.L. Akshay’s bowling.
It turned out to be a costly error as Kaif proceeded to score 70 off 54 balls with three fours and four sixes.
In its reply, Karnataka had a horrible start as it slipped to 31 for three in 5.5 overs but recovered afterwards thanks to significant contributions by Stuart Binny, K.L. Rahul and Karun Nair.
However, UP hit back with timely dismissals of the trio and the South Zone side could eventually muster only 153.
Group A: Delhi 80 in 19.5 overs (Suryakant Pradhan four for 11) lost to Odisha 84 for three in 18.4 overs (Ankit Yadav 26, Govind Poddar 25 n.o.). Points: Odisha 4 (4), Delhi 0 (4) .
Vidarbha 138 for five in 19 overs (Faiz Fazal 27, Amol Ubarhande 55 n.o.) lost to Kerala 111 for nine in 12.3 overs (Vincent Raiphi Gomez 42 n.o.). VJD target: 108 in 13 overs. Kerala 4 (8), Vidarbha 0 (4) .
Group B: Uttar Pradesh 163 for seven in 20 overs (Gaurav Tomar 25, Mohammad Kaif 70) bt Karnataka 153 for eight in 20 overs (K.L. Rahul 34, Stuart Binny 39, Karun Nair 29). UP 4 (4), Karnataka 0 (4) .
Punjab 168 for six in 20 overs (Ravinder Singh 60, Mayank Sidana 30) bt Bengal 143 for eight in 20 overs (Shreevats Goswami 33). Punjab 4 (8), Bengal 0 (8) .