Delhi made it to the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy final with a slim three-wicket win they sealed in the final over of the match against Uttar Pradesh. Chasing 141, UP needed 13 runs from the last six balls with two wickets in hand and started the last over with a six but the run-outs of Saurabh Kumar, who kept UP in the match until then with an 18-ball 33, and Mohsin Khan meant they fell short.
After being put in to bat, Delhi finished with 140 for 9 in 20 overs with Rishabh Pant’s 34-ball 58, his fifth 50-plus score in seven matches. Delhi were off to a wobbly start, with Gautam Gambhir caught behind for 1 off seamer Amit Mishra in the first over. However, Pant and Dhruv Shorey (12), who has been in good form lately, added 38 runs in 3.5 overs. But, Shorey and Unmukt Chand (0), playing his first match of the tournament, fell in successive overs. Delhi slumped to 67 for 4 when Nitish Rana, who had a good IPL season with Mumbai Indians last year and stands a good chance of being picked up at this year’s auction, fell for a duck too.
By the time Pant was run out in the 12th over, he had struck three sixes on the leg side and five fours around the ground. It was then left to Milind Kumar, who struck 32 off 28 balls, and captain Pradeep Sangwan (14*) to steer Delhi to a respectable total. Ankit Rajpoot, Mohammad Israr and Mohsin finished with two wickets each.
While UP’s top-order batsmen got starts, nobody went on to get a big score. After captain and in-form batsman Suresh Raina (16 off 12 balls) and Akshdeep Nath (1) fell cheaply, Rinku Singh (34 off 26) and Saurabh tried to take UP home. However, Saurabh’s run-out off the second ball of the last over resulted in Uttar Pradesh falling short, as they couldn’t score six off the last four deliveries. Milind effected three run-outs, including Saurabh’s, and also took two catches. Left-arm spinner Pawan Negi, who is likely to be snapped up in the auction, finished with 2 for 13 from his two overs.