Punjab and Baroda will face off in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy final after beating Delhi and Assam in their respective semi-finals in Mohali. Punjab made a big chase look simple ^(https://lotus365.today/goto/https://www.espncricinfo.com/series/syed-mushtaq-ali-trophy-2023-24-1383410/delhi-vs-punjab-1st-semi-final-1383566/full-scorecard) before Baroda’s provided an all-round display. ^(https://lotus365.today/goto/https://www.espncricinfo.com/series/syed-mushtaq-ali-trophy-2023-24-1383410/baroda-vs-assam-2nd-semi-final-1383567/live-cricket-score)
This will be the fifth final for both Baroda and Punjab, the most for any team in the tournament. In fact, the two teams had met in the 2012 final, when Baroda beat Punjab ^(https://lotus365.today/goto/https://www.espncricinfo.com/series/syed-mushtaq-ali-trophy-2012-13-576166/baroda-vs-punjab-group-b-626432/full-scorecard) for the first of their two titles. Punjab have not won the competition in either of their four previous finals. The title clash will be in Mohali on Monday.
Abhishek, Mandeep steer Punjab
Punjab 184 for 4 (Abhishek 77*, Mandeep 63, Mayank 2-28) beat Delhi 183 for 7 (Badoni 80*, Rawat 34, Kaul 3-27) by 6 wickets
Coming in to bat in the fourth over after Sidharth Kaul sent opener Priyansh Arya and Yash Dhull back, Badoni stayed unbeaten till the end, holding together Delhi’s innings in Mohali as others around him fell without offering much support after Anuj Rawat’s early burst.
Rawat, who hit a fine half-century in the quarter-final, was largely responsible for Delhi’s early impetus. He hit five fours and a six as he raced to 34 off 22.
But after left-arm spinner Harpreet Brar accounted for Rawat, it was up to Badoni to shepherd Delhi to a fighting total and he did that with aplomb. The 23-year-old hit seven fours and four sixes as Delhi racked up 94 runs in the last ten overs.
Right-arm quick Mayank Yadav struck twice in the third over of the chase and Punjab lost Anmolpreet Singh as well at the end of the powerplay, but stayed abreast with the required rate as they piled on 55 runs in the first six.
Abhishek and Mandeep then added 102 off 58 deliveries to put Punjab in the driving seat. Abhishek fell to Suyash Sharma ^(https://lotus365.today/goto/https://www.espncricinfo.com/cricketers/suyash-sharma-1350792) for 77 off 45, but Mandeep saw Punjab through along with Nehal Wadhera, with eight balls to spare.
Suyash took two wickets, to finish his campaign with 18 wickets from seven games. He is only behind Ravi Teja (19) in the wicket charts. Abhishek, who had a string of low scores after a blistering start to the campaign, moved up to second in the run charts.
Baroda end Assam and Parag’s dream run
Baroda 146 for 4 (Rathva 44, Jyotsnil 37, Sengupta 2-32) beat Assam 143 (Rishav 48, Denish 32, Rajput 4-29) by 6 wickets
It has been an excellent season for Assam and their captain Riyan Parag ^(https://lotus365.today/goto/https://www.espncricinfo.com/cricketers/riyan-parag-1079434). Parag hit seven consecutive half-centuries, the first time in the competition’s history, and Assam reached the semi-finals for the first time ever.
But that was the end of the road for them as Baroda stormed past them ^(https://lotus365.today/goto/https://www.espncricinfo.com/series/syed-mushtaq-ali-trophy-2023-24-1383410/baroda-vs-assam-2nd-semi-final-1383567/full-scorecard) to reach their second final in the last four years.
Assam started well after being put in to bat. Openers Denish Das and Rishav Das took them to 46 before the former was out for 32 in the last over of the powerplay to Atit Sheth. Assam’s quarter-final hero Sumit Ghadigaonkar failed to make an impact and Parag was also out cheaply to leave Assam in trouble.
Rishav tried to rebuild but Assam slid further from 99 for 3 to 111 for 6 and were eventually bowled out for 143. Abhimanyusingh Rajput ^(https://lotus365.today/goto/https://www.espncricinfo.com/cricketers/abhimanyusingh-rajput-1201537) was the pick of the Baroda bowlers, taking four wickets, while Sheth struck twice.
If Assam had any hopes of pulling off an unlikely win in a low-scoring thriller, Baroda’s openers foiled them with an 81-run stand off 47 balls. Even though Baroda then lost three wickets for 19 runs, including openers Ninad Rathva ^(https://lotus365.today/goto/https://www.espncricinfo.com/cricketers/ninad-rathva-1126213) and Jyotsnil Singh ^(https://lotus365.today/goto/https://www.espncricinfo.com/cricketers/jyotsnil-singh-1125567), they were in too comfortable a position for Assam to mount a prospective comeback.