Yusuf Pathan enhanced his reputation as a gamechanger, demolishing Abhimanyu Mithun in the one-over eliminator as Baroda won a thriller against Karnataka to make it to the quarter-finals. Baroda had bounced back, after having lost wickets at regular intervals in the middle overs, to level the scores and send the match into the eliminator.
Yusuf, who had made just 9 during Baroda's innings, dispatched Mithun's first ball high over deep midwicket for a six. The next delivery was rifled past cover for a four. Yusuf then moved to the non-striker's end with a single to point. Ambati Rayudu failed to connect, but the batsmen ran a bye. Yusuf repeated the cover drive for the second four of the over. He finished things in style with a powerful straight six, leaving Mithun and Karanataka deflated as 22 runs came in the eliminator.
Karnataka could manage just seven as Robin Uthappa, Bharat Chipli and Manish Pandey failed to dominate Murtuja Vahora, who maintained a wicket-to-wicket line. It was Vahora who had kept Baroda in the match earlier.
Chasing 168, Baroda were on the brink of defeat at 119 for 8 - their destroyers-in-chief being Mithun and Aniruddha Joshi, who picked up three wickets apiece. Vahora had walked in at the fall of the seventh wicket with Baroda needing a further 61 runs from 33 deliveries. He proceeded to smash 45 off 21 with eight boundaries.
With 16 needed from seven, Vahora hit a straight drive past the bowler NC Aiyappa for four. Mithun added another twist by giving only three off the first four balls of the last over. But the fifth, a slow and short ball, was dispatched for six over long-on by Vahora. With three needed, Vahora and Munaf Patel scampered two runs to tie the game.
Earlier, after being put in to bat, Karnataka made an aggressive start to get to 100 runs within 12 overs. Bharat Chipli, who scored 60 off 43 balls, and Stuart Binny, who scored 35 off 22, were the main contributors. However, they were then pegged back by Abhijit Karambelkar's medium pace: he picked up three wickets for 31 runs to restrict them to 167 for 6 when they looked good for more. Baroda will now meet Bengal in the quarter-finals on March 25.
Punjab thrashed Assam by nine wickets in the second preliminary quarter-final at the Brabourne Stadium. Assam managed just 116 for 9 after being asked to bat, with Mandeep Singh picking up three wickets and VRV Singh chipping in with two strikes. Dheeraj Jadhav (48) and Sibsankar Roy (27) had taken Punjab to 60 for 1 in the tenth over but the middle order could not capitalise on the base. Punjab captain Harbhajan Singh had figures of 1 for 17 but it was VRV who proved to be the hardest to get away. Returning to the Punjab side for the first time in almost two years, VRV, who has played five Tests for India, gave away just ten runs in four overs for two wickets.
Abu Nechim sent back Ishan Malhotra in the first over of the chase but Sarul Kanwar and Gurkeerat Singh blew Assam away with a 109-run partnership that came in only 61 balls. Gurkeerat cracked 12 boundaries in his 62 off 38 while Kanwar hit nine boundaries in his 47 off 24. Punjab reached the target of 117 in 11 overs, and will now take on Madhya Pradesh in the quarter-finals on March 25.