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RESULT
2nd semi final (N), Ahmedabad, January 29, 2021, Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy
160/3
(20 ov, T:161) 135/8

Baroda won by 25 runs

Player Of The Match
64 (49)
kedar-devdhar
Report

Devdhar, Meriwala inspire Baroda into SMA final

Top-order collapse ends Punjab's unbeaten run as chase fizzles

Deivarayan Muthu
29-Jan-2021
Mandeep Singh goes aerial, Kolkata Knight Riders vs Kings XI Punjab, Sharjah, IPL 2020, October 26, 2020

File photo: Mandeep Singh's 42* off 24 balls went in vain for Punjab  •  BCCI

Baroda 160 for 3 (Devdhar 64, Kakade 53*, Markande 1-29) beat Punjab 135 for 8 (Mandeep 42*, Gurkeerat 39, Meriwala 3-28) by 25 runs
Lukman Meriwala rattled Punjab's top order with his left-arm seam and bounce as Baroda cruised to victory and set up a finals clash against Dinesh Karthik's Tamil Nadu on Sunday. Meriwala claimed 3 for 28 under lights extending his wickets tally in the tournament to 14 and making his case for an IPL contract ahead of the auction next month.
He began Baroda's defence of a total of 160 by storming right through Abhishek Sharma in a wicket-maiden and in his next over, he rushed the in-form Prabhsimran Singh into top-edging a hook to deep square leg. The left-arm fingerspinners, Bhargav Bhatt and Ninad Rathva, then choked Punjab further in the middle overs despite the onset of dew. Meriwala returned to skittle Sandeep Sharma, close out the game and put a smile on his bowling coach Munaf Patel's face.
Punjab captain Mandeep Singh, who had hurt his left shoulder while diving near the boundary in the first half, came into bat only at No.6 and although he top-scored for them with an unbeaten 42 off 24 balls, the rapidly rising asking rate was too much to overcome.
It was veteran Kedar Devdhar and rookie Kartik Kakade who had laid the base for Baroda's victory with contrasting half-centuries.
Devdhar, Kakade prop up Baroda
After Baroda were sent in, Rathva, who had been bumped up to the top, eased himself in with a pair of fours off Sandeep in the first over. Stand-in captain Devdhar, too, got into his groove with a pulled six off left-arm seamer Arshdeep Singh.
However, Punjab regained some lost ground when Siddarth Kaul removed Rathva for a run-a-ball 15 and legspinner Mayank Markande followed it with the wicket of Baroda's previous match-winner Vishnu Solanki for a run-a-ball 12.
When Kakade joined Devdhar, Baroda were 57 for 2 in the ninth over. They went onto add 93 in 65 balls; the next-highest stand in the game was 32. Kakade, who had also been pushed up the order, stuck his first T20 fifty in his first innings. He was particularly strong against spin, muscling Markande against the break over the leg side and launching left-arm fingerspinner Harpreet Brar over long-off. Kakade could've been dismissed on 18 in the 14th over had Anmolpreet Singh not misjudged a catch in the outfield.
Devdhar wasn't as fluent as Kakade against spin, but took Kaul for a brace of sixes in the slog overs.
Meriwala's moments
Left-arm seamers are usually attractive T20 options, but despite grabbing 16 wickets at an economy rate of 6.33 last season, Meriwala found no takers in the IPL 2020 auction. He boosted his chances for the upcoming auction by sending Sharma's off stump cartwheeling and bouncing out Prabhsimran. He also got the ball to skid and kick off the pitch against Anmolpreet, keeping him to 1 off 6 balls.
Punjab fade away
Anmolpreet laboured to 15 off 19 balls before holing out off Rathva. By the tenth over, the asking rate had shot past 10 and when Gurkeerat Singh carved a catch to sweeper cover for 39 off 37 balls in the 15th, it became 15.
Mandeep, who batted with a heavily strapped shoulder, cracked three fours and three sixes to give Punjab some late cheer before Meriwala and Atit Sheth wrapped up a rousing win.
Baroda will take a shot at their third Syed Mushtaq Ali title when they run into TN, who had last won the tournament in the pre-IPL era in 2006-07.

Deivarayan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Punjab Innings
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Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy

Elite, Group A
TEAMMWLPTNRR
PNJB550202.483
KNTKA541160.292
J + K532120.243
RLYS5238-1.357
UP5144-0.291
TPURA5050-1.427
Elite, Group B
TEAMMWLPTNRR
TN550201.880
BENG532120.654
JHK532120.230
ASSAM5238-0.961
HYD5144-0.199
ODSA5144-1.569
Elite, Group C
TEAMMWLPTNRR
BRODA550201.465
HP541160.940
GUJ532120.891
UKHND5144-0.981
MAHA5144-1.169
CGR5144-1.390
Elite, Group D
TEAMMWLPTNRR
RAJ541160.493
MP541160.285
SAU532121.560
GOA53212-0.373
SVCS5144-0.145
VIDAR5050-1.907
Elite, Group E
TEAMMWLPTNRR
HRYNA550200.869
DELHI532121.913
KER532120.454
PONDI5238-1.192
AP5144-0.593
MUM5144-1.374
Plate Group
TEAMMWLPTNRR
BIHAR550201.161
CHD540185.763
NAGA540183.047
MEGHA532121.671
MNPR5238-1.076
SIKM5144-2.939
ARP5050-2.393
MIZO5050-4.521