Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy: UP outclass Baroda to claim maiden T20 title

Uttar Pradesh clinched their maiden Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 Trophy with a thumping 38-run win over two-time champions Baroda in the final under lights at Mumbai's Wankhede Stadium on Wednesday night.

Just 12 boundaries and no sixes summed up Baroda’s poor batting show as Uttar Pradesh denied Irfan Pathan & Co their third Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 title at Mumbai's Wankhede Stadium on Wednesday. In return, Uttar Pradesh avenged their 2013-14 loss in the final. Baroda were restricted to 125-7, in reply to UP’s 163-7 in 20 overs.

Suresh Raina in action during the Syed Mushtaq Ali final on Wednesday in MumbaiUttar Pradesh skipper Suresh Raina in action against Baroda during the final of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy tournament in Mumbai on Wednesday. Pic/PTI

UP overcame several odds, including the loss of the toss, to put it across the champions of 2011-12 and 2013-14 and win the summit clash in front of 5000 spectators.

This was UP's ninth straight win in the tournament, including five in the preliminary league phase and three more in the super league stage held in this city. 

Although Ankit Rajoot was the pick of the bowlers with 3-30, the double spin attack of Chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav (2-12) and leggie Piyush Chawla (4-0-16-0) were the real heroes of UP’s 38-run win to claim their first domestic T20 trophy.

Soeb Tai was the only Baroda batsman to play a decent knock of 26 not out, even as the rest slumped.

Baroda never really got going after a run-spree in the first couple of overs. And Yadav and Chawla’s tight line and length further demoralised their chase. Baroda had lost half their side for 84 and then were stopped at 125 for 7 wickets. 

Yadav's dismissal of Baroda's most successful batsman of the tournament, the Australia-bound Hardik Pandya (13) and Deepak Hooda (15), tilted the game in UP's favour. 

Yusuf Pathan, known for his big-hitting prowess, flopped miserably once again as he crawled to 14 off 27 balls. Captain Irfan Pathan came in at no. 7 but by that stage the asking rate had climbed beyond 12 per over. 

And when he smacked a full toss to the deep fielder, the game was as good as over for Baroda for whom Soaeb Tai top-scored with an unbeaten 26 off 24 balls with 3 fours. 

Earlier, put in to bat, Uttar Pradesh benefited from some poor work in the field by Baroda. Both their top-scoring batsmen -- opener Gupta and captain Raina -- benefited from let-offs by the Baroda wicket-keeper Pinal Shah.

Shah dropped Gupta on 5 off Munaf Patel in the second over and then missed an easy stumping chance off Raina when the batsman was on 32 off the bowling of off-spinner Tai in the 16th over.

UP built their innings around opener Prashanth Gupta's 49 in 41 balls and captain Suresh Raina's unbeaten 47 in 37 balls to post a challenging score of 163 for 7. 

Gupta and Raina, whose previous highest score in five games in the tournament was 28, put on 60 runs for the second wicket in 46 balls to lay the platform.

Gupta was also lucky to be caught off a no-ball when on 17. He and opening partner Samarth Singh gave a brisk start to the innings by putting on 37 in 31 balls before the latter dragged a ball on to his stumps.

Later Bhargav Bhatt grabbed the wickets of Gupta and UP's leading scorer Eklavya Dwivedi in three balls at the same total of 97 to peg the side back. 

But Raina, though not looking at his fluent best, held one end up and stayed till the end, smacking two sixes, the second over mid wicket off the last ball from Irfan Pathan, and two fours. 

Baroda bowlers too did not allow Uttar Pradesh to dominate with UP managing to accumulate only 90 runs in the last 10 overs. Baroda also strangulated UP between 11th and 15th overs, giving away just 42 runs.

UP team with the Syed Mushtaq Ali TrophyUttar Pradesh players pose for a group photo with the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy after beating Baroda in Mumbai on Wednesday. Pic/PTI 

Piyush Chawla played a cameo of 17 in 13 balls after he was let off one one by Yusuf Pathan at mid on off Tai. 

While Munaf Patel was the most economical Baroda bowler (4-0-21-0), in-form Irfan Pathan leaked 44 runs in his four overs, only  claiming the wicket of tailender Praveen Kumar. Surprisingly, Bhatt was not given his full quota of overs after having taken 2 for 13 in his two overs. Irfan also did not use his brother Yusuf. 

Brief scores: Uttar Pradesh 163 for 7 (Prashanth Gupta 49, Suresh Raina not out 47; Bhargav Bhatt 2 for 13) beat Baroda 125 for 7 (Soaeb Tai not out 26; Ankit Rajpoot 3 for 30, Amit Mishra 2 for 33, Kuldeep Yadav 2 for 16).

(With PTI inputs)

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