Barinder Sran's three-wicket haul helped Punjab sneak home by five-runs against Rajasthan, but they couldn't prevent them from securing a place in the final of the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 tournament. Although Rajasthan and Punjab finished with 12 points each, the former qualified by virtue of a better net run-rate. Rajasthan will now take on Delhi in Kolkata on Friday.
Earlier, having been put into bat, Punjab managed only 129 for 9 in 20 overs. Captain Harbhajan Singh promoted himself to No.3 like he has done all tournament, and scored a 31-ball 32. The other major contribution came from Sharad Lumba, who made 31 off 26 batting at No.6. Yuvraj Singh laboured to 4 off 11 balls two days after he had struggled his way to a 33-ball 17 against Jharkhand. He finished his tournament with 209 runs from nine innings at a strike-rate of 96.29, the lowest for a frontline batsman in the team. While Manan Vohra made 20, Gurkeerat Singh and Mandeep Singh made one each.
Left-arm seamer Khaleel Ahmed finished with figures of 3 for 17 to emerge as the joint second-leading wicket-taker of the tournament. Seamer Deepak Chahar, meanwhile, took his tally to 19 wickets - despite hobbling off with a leg injury after taking two wickets - to become the tournament's highest wicket-taker. Chahar and Khaleel, who have been part of Rising Pune Supergiant and Delhi Daredevils respectively, have listed their base prices at INR 20 Lakh.
Rajasthan got off to a poor start in their chase, losing Aditya Garhwal and Salman Khan with only four runs on the board. It was down to Ankit Lamba, who scored a 37-ball 47, and Mahipal Lomror (21) to repair thing. They put on a 49-run stand for the third wicket. However, Manpreet Gony (2 for 20) and Sran picked up five wickets between them to kill the chase. Sran, who has turned out for Rajasthan Royals, Sunrisers Hyderabad and Gujarat Lions in the previous editions, has listed his reserve price at INR 50 lakh ahead of the auction.