All-win Maharashtra and Karnataka set up final showdown
Mumbai and Bengal sign off win dominant wins over Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat
Maharashtra and Karnataka maintained their unbeaten run to book their berths in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy final, to be played in Indore on Thursday.
In their final Super League fixtures, Maharashtra beat Railways to finish top of Group A, while Karnataka got the better of Vidarbha to sit on the perch in Group B.
Nikhil Naik, Naushad Shaikh set up Railways rout
Asked to bat, Maharashtra quickly slid to 16 for 2 in 4.1 overs, but Railways then had to wait till the 18th over before getting lucky again as Nikhil Naik and Naushad Shaikh took the bowlers apart. Naik smashed an unbeaten 95 in 58 balls, while Shaikh hit 59 in 39 balls, the two adding 119 for the third wicket to push Railways out of the contest.
Naik and Shaikh apart, there wasn't much of note in the Maharashtra innings, but they did lift their total to 177 for 5. And that was 21 too many for Railways, who had a 68-run first-wicket stand courtesy Mrunal Devdhar (55 in 44 balls) and Pratham Singh (29 in 18), but little apart from that, folding for 156 off the last ball of their chase.
Bowlers, Manish Pandey take Karnataka past Vidarbha
Manish Pandey won a good toss, inserted Vidarbha, and his bowlers delivered to restrict the Ranji Trophy champions to 138 for 7, with most of the resistance with the bat coming - as it did often in the long-format competition - from the lower middle-order.
Apoorv Wankhade hit an unbeaten 56 in 41 balls, and Akshay Karnewar 33 in 27 balls, but the damage had been done before they got together for the sixth wicket with the scoreboard reading 46 for 5.
Karnataka's reply was headlined by Rohan Kadam (39 in 37) at the top and Pandey later, the captain walking in at 68 for 3 and hitting an unbeaten 49 in 35 balls to take his team past the target with four balls in hand.
Siddhesh Lad shines as Mumbai sign off with win
In an earlier game, Mumbai notched up their third win in the Super League phase as Siddhesh Lad and the seamers combined to trump Uttar Pradesh by 46 runs. Lad stood out with an impressive all-round show, first making 62 off 44 balls and then picking three wickets with his offspin.
After being sent in, Mumbai lost opener Jay Bista in the first ball of the match, following which Lad joined Eknath Kerkar to put up a strong 96-run second-wicket stand. Captain Shreyas Iyer also chipped in with a crucial 27-ball 43, steering the team to a strong 183 for 7.
UP faltered in the chase, losing four wickets inside the first six overs as Shardul Thakur and Shivam Dube ran through the top order. While the middle order tried to pull things back, UP struggled to put up a major partnership with six of their batsmen departing for single-digit scores. They lost their last four wickets in 4.3 overs. Lad, Thakur and Dube finished with three-fors.
Bengal sign-off on a high
In a dead rubber to close the Super League phase, Bengal trounced Gujarat by seven wickets to end on a high. An unbeaten 53 from Wriddhiman Saha helped Bengal cruise home in a chase of 122 with 10 balls to spare. The star was medium pacer Sayan Ghosh, who took a career-best 5 for 15. Barring Axar Patel's half-century, there wasn't much of note for Gujarat.