Prashant Gupta's unbeaten maiden T20 hundred helped Uttar Pradesh chase down a 179-run target against Haryana, boosting their run rate and, eventually it turned out, putting them in the final against Baroda on Monday.*
Prashant slammed 102 off 58 balls striking five fours and seven sixes as he guided the run chase with steady partnerships. He had good support from Eklavya Dwivedi and Akshdeep Nath as UP achieved the target with four balls to spare.
Earlier, Haryana were reduced to 119 for 5 in the 14th over after their openers Avi Barot and Rahul Dewan had added 63. Late cameos from Rahul Dalal (24 from 19 balls) and Lokesh Sharma (16 off 10 balls), however, lifted the side to a competitive 178 for 8.
Both Goa - one of the most dominant teams in this tournament - and Gujarat needed to win big to topple UP at the top of the points table, and seal their place in the final. Both teams fell short, Goa heartbreakingly so. Gujarat needed to win by roughly 30 runs, defending 180. Goa needed to chase it down before the completion of the 15th over. Gujarat didn't get close, Goa fell short by roughly two balls. Needing a boundary off 14.4 to lift their net run rate over UP's, the set Harshad Gadekar was out caught. The following delivery, the other set batsman, Rohit Asnodkar was bowled by left-arm seamer Kamlesh Thakor. Goa finished the game with a four one ball later, but it was not enough - again it was so close yet so far for them; had they managed a six off this final delivery, their net run rate would still have been marginally better than UP's.
That they were able to get so close was once again down to a solid platform set at the top - opener Swapnil Asnodkar slammed 64 off 28 deliveries.
If Gujarat were in with a good chance of their own, that was also because of the solid beginning their top order game them. Priyank Panchal and Rajdeep Darbar added 86 in nine overs, before No. 3 Smit Patel hit 50 not out of 31 to take them to a very competitive 180.
Goa had suffered similar heartache even in the Ranji Trophy, failing to make the knockouts by the thinnest of margins.
Baroda qualified for the final of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy despite yielding their three-match winning streak in the Super League. Kerala were joined with them on 12 points with the victory, but were 0.114 points shy in the run-rate battle. The fact that it got that close was because of an unmitigated assault from Raiphi Gomez. He razed 42 off 19 balls, with three fours and three sixes to imbue momentum to a meandering Kerala innings. Jafar Jamal held the other end during a stand of 55 runs in 30 balls as a scoreline of 81 for 5 in 14.1 was transformed to 152 for 6 in 20 overs.
Aditya Waghmode kept Baroda in the hunt with a well-paced half-century. But the middle overs proved disastrous as KJ Rakesh and Rohan Prem orchestrated a collapse - five wickets for 18 runs. Waghmode was the first domino who fell after scoring 50 off 32 balls. The tail realised the futility of an equation that demanded 48 off 13 balls and ushered Baroda through to the 20 overs to salvage vital run-rate points.
Kshitiz's 57 off 42 balls had four fours and four sixes and helped lift Delhi from 36 for 3 to 121 before Sumit Narwal smacked a quick 17 off seven balls to take the score to 144 for 4.
In reply, Arjit Gupta looked set to steer Rajasthan to victory, smacking a 36-ball 72 with five fours and six sixes. His dismissal in the 13th over, however, created instability within the ranks and two overs later, Ankit Lamba's dismissal triggered a slide that saw Rajasthan lose their last seven wickets for 21 runs to fold for 137. Javed and Nagar were the architects of the collapse and finished with 4 for 18 and 3 for 13 respectively.
12.45GMT, April 12: The round-up has been updated, after the completion of the Goa-Gujarat game.