What a thriller!
— BCCI Domestic (@BCCIdomestic) January 27, 2021
Baroda 150 for 2 (Solanki 71*, Devdhar 43) beat Haryana 148 for 7 (Rana 49, Kakade 2-7) by eight wickets
It was a remember-the-name moment for Vishnu Solanki in Ahmedabad as he hit six, four and six off the last three balls of Baroda’s chase against Haryana, the last of those with a helicopter shot from well inside the crease, to take his team to an eight-wicket win and a place in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy semi-finals.
Till that point, it had been a decent day at work for Sumit Kumar, the 25-year-old medium pacer, who had scored a 16-ball 20* in Haryana’s 148 for 7, and then conceded 21 runs from 2.3 overs, including singles off the first three balls of the final over of Baroda’s chase. But Solanki got stuck into him when it mattered the most, going bang-bang-bang in the last three balls to win the game. Solanki ended on a 46-ball 71*, with four fours and five sixes.
The day started with Kedar Devdhar, the Baroda captain, opting to field, and he was in the thick of the action early on, playing his part in running Guntashveer Singh out in the third over.
Chaitanya Bishnoi did the bulk of the scoring immediately after that with a 15-ball 21, but the going was rather slow for Haryana for the first half of their innings – possibly where they lost the game. The powerplay overs ended with 33 for 2 on the board, and the subsequent overs went for only three, six, nine and seven runs respectively, and they were 58 for 2 after ten overs.
Himanshu Rana and Shivam Chauhan did pick up the pace after that, though, and when Chauhan was dismissed by medium pacer Atit Sheth in the 15th over for a 29-ball 35, the scoreboard had a much healthier look to it – 105 for 3 with 34 balls to go.
But Rana was sent back by offspinner Kartik Kakade in the very next over for 49 off 40 balls and there followed yet another slow passage for Haryana as they added just 19 runs in the next three overs before a 14-run final over, bowled by medium pacer Babashafi Pathan, lifted them to a competitive total.
Baroda’s innings started as slowly as Haryana’s had, and they ended the powerplay at 33 for 1 (compared to their opponents’ identical run tally but with one fewer wicket lost). In fact, at the halfway stage, they were 55 for 1 (not too dissimilar to Haryana’s 58 for 2), but Devdhar and Solanki – who came together at the fall of Smit Patel, dismissed by Yuzvendra Chahal for a run-a-ball 21 – did the job asked of them with a solid if unspectacular partnership of 68 runs.
Like with the Haryana innings, the scoring picked up in the second half of the Baroda innings with both batsmen finding their range. Devdhar broke the shackles with a six and a four off Rahul Tewatia’s left-arm spin in the 11 th over, and Solanki did likewise against Jayant Yadav’s offspin in the next.
It did get tricky after Kumar sent Devdhar back for a 40-ball 43, though, leaving Solanki with what looked like quite a lot in the last over. It wasn’t. He was up for it, even if it needed a six off the final ball.
Baroda will take on Tamil Nadu, who beat Himachal Pradesh in their quarter-final yesterday, in the second semi-final, to be played on Friday in Ahmedabad.
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