KL Rahul slammed an unbeaten 84 to help defending champions Karnataka thrashed Punjab by seven wickets in their Group B Super League game in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy T20 tournament in Surat on Sunday.
In another game, young opener Prithvi Shaw, who returned to competitive cricket after serving an eight month suspension, smashed 64 off 36 balls as Mumbai chased down a stiff 171-run target with five balls to spare against Jharkhand.
Karnataka pacer Ronit More bagged four wickets to help his team restrict Punjab to 163/6 before Rahul’s blazing 48-ball 84 enabled the team to reach the target with two overs to spare.
It was Karnataka’s third successive win in the tournament. For Punjab, Shubman Gill, who was released from the Indian Test squad, fell for 11. They also lost other opener Abhishek Sharma (5) cheaply, to be reeling at 18/2.
Skipper Mandeep Singh (76 off 50 balls) held the innings from one end and took the team out of the rubble. Anmolpreet Singh (11) failed to convert his start as Punjab lost the third wicket with 55 on the board.
Gurkeerat Singh (44 off 32 balls) then joined his skipper in the middle as the duo conjured a crucial 88-run stand for the fourth wicket and steadied the ship.
While Mandeep hammered nine fours and two sixes, Gurkeerat played the perfect second fiddle and hit two boundaries and three maximums. However, More pegged back Punjab with two quick wickets as they were restricted it to 163/6.
In reply, Karnataka lost their in-form opener Devdutt Padikkal (2) early but Rahul played aggressively and hammered the opposition bowlers be it spinners or pacers. Rohan Kadam (23) and skipper Pandey (33) also chipped in with the runs before Rahul, who struck seven fours and four sixes, took his side home in company of Karun Nair (23*).
Another win could help Karnataka make the semis. In the Mumbai game, the spotlight was on Shaw, who proved his mettle by toying with the Jharkhand attack comprising the likes of Anukul Roy and former India pacer Varun Aaron.
The pint-sized opener smashed four fours and five sixes and led Mumbai’s chase even as he kept losing partners at the other end.
Shaw fell in the 12th over, with Mumbai still needing another 78 runs, but Shivam Dube’s quickfire 23 off 11 balls, helped them near the target and then Siddhesh Lad (18*), Sujit Nayak (17*) completed the formalities.
Meanwhile, Maharashtra defeated Baroda by 67 runs in another Super League match. Riding on an unbeaten 48 by middle-order batsman Azim Kazi and 47 each by opener Ruturaj Gaikwad and experienced Kedar Jadhav, Maharashtra posted a decent 165/2 before bundling out Baroda for a paltry 98.
Maharashtra bowlers Satyajeet Bachhav (2/5), Samad Fallah (2/12), Shamshuzama Kazi (2/12) and Azim Kazi (2/20) shared the spoils are they registered an comprehensive victory.
In the final game of the day, Haryana beat Delhi by 30 runs where India player Rishabh Pant (28), who was also released from the Test squad, failed to convert his start.
Haryana, who had set Delhi a herculean 182-run target took wickets at regular intervals, to emerge victorious.
India spinner Yuzvendra Chahal (3/27) spun his web aroud the Delhi batsman and his wickets included that of rival skipper Dhruv Shorey. All eyes were once again on Pant, but the young wicket-keeper, who opened the batting for Delhi, could not deliver during the run-chase. After getting set during the first 10 overs, while he lost three wickets at the other end, the onus was him to up the scoring rate in the second half of the innings. But he completely misread a slower ball and was clean bowled for 28 off 32 balls.
After Haryana removed a set Nitish Rana (37), it was all over for Delhi.
Brief Scores: Punjab 163/6 (Mandeep Singh 76, Gurkeerat Singh 44; Ronit More 4/27) lost to Karnataka 167/3 (KL Rahul 84*, Manish Pandey 33; Mayank Markande 1/33) by seven wickets.
Maharashtra 165/2 (Azim Kazi 48*, Ruturaj Gaikwad 47, Kedar Jadhav 47; Swapnil Singh 1/19) beat Baroda 98 (Kedar Devdhar 27; Satyajeet Bachhav 2/5, Samad Fallah 2/12) by 67 runs.
Jharkhand 170/4 (Kumar Deobrat 58, Sumit Kumar 28*; Shubham Ranjane 2/17) lost to Mumbai 171/5 (Prithvi Shaw 64, Shivam Dube 23; Sonu Singh 2/34) by five wickets.
Haryana 181/6 (Himashu Rana 59, Shivam Chauhan 47, Simarjeet Singh 2/43, Nitish Rana 1/13) beat Delhi 151/8 (Nitish Rana 37, Rishabh Pant 28; Yuzvendra Chahal 3/27) by 30 runs.