Baroda who are enjoying a dream run in the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 tournament recorded an easy win over Rajasthan and maintained pole position in Group B in the race to the final yesterday.
Aditya Waghmode remained unbeaten on 50. Pic/Prakash Parsekar
Having bowled out Rajasthan for a paltry 103 in 19.3 overs at the Wankhede Stadium, the victors coasted past the finish line, with openers Kedar Devdhar (45) and Aditya Waghmode (50) breaking no sweat in their unbroken 105-run partnership.
The big win not only boosted Baroda's net run rate, but also gave them a vital four-point lead in the group over other contenders: Rajasthan (eight points) and Kerala (eight points) with all of them having a match in hand. Only one team from Group A and B will progress to the final.
Left-arm pacer Rishi Arothe and Lukman Meriwala, who claimed three wickets each, never allowed the Rajasthan batters to settle down. While former India pacer Munaf Patel (4-0-8-0) kept things tight from one end, Arothe and Meriwala bowled an attacking line that earned them rich rewards.
The only time the Rajasthan innings showed some semblance of stability was when Naresh Gehlot (11) and Puneet Yadav (34) put on 36 runs for the third wicket.
But once Gehlot was caught behind by Pinal Shah off Abhijit Karambelkar, Rajasthan gave it away as they barely managed to cross the three-figure mark. Coming out to chase the paltry target, Waghmode slammed his maiden half-century of the tournament and Devdhar posted his highest score in the competition.
Devdhar said they were watchful of the small total. "We had a chance to stay at the wicket. We wanted to utilise it. Although the target was not too big, we wanted to ensure we do not take it lightly. It was a crucial match to win," said Devdhar.