Standing amid ruins, debutant Abhinav Manohar towered over the Saurashtra bowlers and took Karnataka to a fighting two-wicket victory with a penultimate ball-six for a place in the quarterfinals of the Syed Mushtaq Ali (T20) Trophy here on Tuesday.
Saurashtra’s decision to bat seemed to have backfired on being restricted to 145/7 despite Sheldon Jackson’s 43-ball 50 (3×4, 3×6). Karnataka found the going tough when reduced to 60/4 in the 10th over but Manohar (70 n.o., 49b, 2×4, 6×6) shouldered the responsibility and dominated with a match-turning 64-run stand with Aniruddha Joshi (13).
Though Saurashtra skipper Jaydev Unadkat (4/22) returned to add two wickets in his fourth over and Kushang Patel scalped one, Manohar was not to be denied his moment of glory.
Soon after the dismissal of K. C. Cariappa in the final over, Manohar sent the fifth ball from Dharmendrasinh Jadeja into the stands behind mid-wicket to script a thrilling win.
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In the morning, too, the winning stroke was a six as Vidarbha cruised to a surprisingly easy seven-wicket victory over Maharashtra.
Put in, Maharashtra managed a healthy-looking 157/8 after comeback-man Rahul Tripathi top-scored with a 45-ball 66 (5×4, 3×6). Following the dismissal of Siddhesh Wath to the first delivery, Vidarbha thwarted Maharashtra with a 96-run stand between skipper Akshay Wadkar (58 n.o., 47b, 7×4) and opener Atharva Taide (56, 38b, 6×4, 1×6). Jitesh Sharma (28 n.o. 7b, 2×4, 3×6) put the finishing touches with a hat-trick of sixes off Sunil Yadav.
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Meanwhile, between the triumphs of Vidarbha and Karnataka at the Ferozeshah Kotla ground, Kerala cruised to its third successive eight-wicket victory after facing Himachal Pradesh at the Air Force ground.
After opting to bowl, and restricting Himachal to 145/7, Kerala covered the distance by riding on a 98-run second-wicket stand involving opener Mohammad Azharuddeen (60, 57×4, 4×4, 2×6) and skipper Sanju Samson (52 n.o., 39b, 6×4, 1×6). Though the triumph came with just three deliveries to spare, Kerala never lost control.
Thursday’s quarterfinal line-up:
Rajasthan v Vidarbha; Bengal v Karnataka; Tamil Nadu v Kerala; Gujarat v Hyderabad.
The scores: Saurashtra 145/7 in 20 overs (Sheldon Jackson 50) lost to Karnataka 150/8 in 19.5 overs (Abhinav Manohar 70 n.o., Rohan Kadam 33, Jaydev Unadkat 4/22).
Maharashtra 157/8 in 20 overs (Rahul Tripathi 66, Yash Thakur 3/17) lost to Vidarbha 160/3 in 17.5 overs (Akshay Wadkar 58 n.o., Atharva Taide 56).
Himachal Pradesh 145/6 in 20 overs (Raghav Dhawan 65, Prashant Chopra 36) lost to Kerala 147/2 in 19.3 overs (Mohammad Azharuddeen 60, Sanju Samson 52 n.o.).