Irfan Pathan stepped on the field for the first time in the tournament and made a telling impact with his all-round prowess to guide Baroda to the Syed Mushtaq Ali All-India T20 title with an eight-run win over Punjab in a well-contested final.
The southpaw smashed a six and five fours in his inimitable style, including three fours in two overs towards the end of the innings, as Baroda ended up with a competitive score of 149 for 6 after looking to end up with a score far below that earlier.
Man of the match Irfan then grabbed two for 24 with his swing bowling and also effected a run-out to dismiss rival captain Harbhajan Singh, who was using the long handle to good effect, and helped his side stop Punjab at 141 for 8 at the Brabourne Stadium.
Irfan then grabbed 2 for 24 with his swing bowling and also effected a run-out to dismiss rival captain Harbhajan Singh, who was using the long handle to good effect, and helped his side stop Punjab at 141 for 8 at the Brabourne Stadium.
It was Baroda's first senior title in 12 years after the Ranji Trophy crown they had won in 2001 by beating Railways in the title contest and Irfan was a part of that team in his debut season. Baroda won Rs 10 lakh while Punjab received Rs 5 lakh. Punjab fought their way back into the game after having lost their openers Chandan Madan and Sarul Kanwar with only 9 on the board.
The men who led Punjab's revival were Gurkirat Mann (12), Mandeep Singh (40 in 31 balls), left hander Bipul Sharma, who made 41 in 38 balls with three fours before being eighth out after taking 2 for 15 with his left arm spin, Amitoz Singh (21 in 8 balls with a six and 2 fours) and Harbhajan.