Mumbai: Riding on skipper Yusuf Pathan's brilliant unbeaten half century, Baroda registered their fourth successive win by thrashing Maharashtra by six wickets in a West Zone leg match of the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 Trophy, here on Friday. (Adjoining images is a file photo of Yusuf Pathan)
Opting to bat, Maharashtra posted a modest 139 for seven, which Baroda chased down with 15 balls to spare but not before they experienced some early jitters. Yusuf, who came into bat at number six, struck seven fours and three sixes during his unconquered 24-ball 57.
Chasing 140 for victory, Baroda did not have an ideal start as they lost openers Kedar Devdhar (11) and Aditya Waghmode (2) early. Waghmode was the first to return to the pavilion when he fell short of his crease as a direct hit from Harshad Khadiwale hit the stumps in the second over. (Also read: Sehwag, Gambhir power Delhi to fourth straight win)
Then Devdhar's dismissal two overs later left Baroda struggling at 20 for two. However, a 49-run solid partnership between one-down batsman Rakesh Solanki (40 not out) and Hardik Pandya (29) for the third wicket brought Baroda's campaign back on track.
But just when things had started to look fine for Baroda, Shrikant Mundhe delivered a maiden over while picking up two wickets to once again bring Maharashtra back into contention with Baroda scorecard reading 69 for four.
Skipper Yusuf then ensured that Baroda reached the target without any further damage. Yusuf stitched an unbroken 73-run stand for the fifth wicket with Solanki, who remained unbeaten on 40 off 36 balls, to guide the team to victory rather comfortably in the end. Earlier, Maharashtra opener Khadiwale (27-ball 23) gave his team a good start, while Rahul Tripathi top scored with a 34-ball 32, studded with three fours. Chirag Khurana chipped in with a handy 11-ball 18.
For Baroda Irfan Pathan scalped two wickets but gave away as many as 37 runs from his four overs. Lukman Meriwala, Hardik Pandya and Krunal Pandya picked up wicket apiece.
Maharashtra needed to win this match in order to secure a spot at the all-India knock-out stage but their loss has opened up the table. They are now tied along with Mumbai at eight points and Gujarat (four points) have a match left against Saurashtra to equalise with them.
Baroda had already qualified to the next stage with their win over Saurashtra on Thursday. Brief Scores:
Maharashtra: 139 for seven (Rahul Tripathi 32, Harshad Khadiwale 23; Irfan Pathan 2/37).
Baroda: 142 for four (Yusuf Pathan 57, Rakesh Solanki 40; Shrikant Mundhe 2/26).