Ruturaj Gaikwad continued his impressive run in the shortest format with a strokeful 80 to power Maharashtra to a seven-wicket win against Punjab in an Elite Group 'A' match in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy T20 cricket tournament in Lucknow on Friday.
Chasing 138 for victory, Gaikwad, who was in red-hot form for Chennai Super Kings in the recently-concluded IPL, smacked eight fours and three sixes in the 54-ball knock to help Maharashtra post its first victory.
He had also hit a half-century on Thursday against Tamil Nadu, which the team lost by 12 runs.
The early dismissal of fellow opener Yash Nahar for a duck in the second over did not deter Gaikwad as he batted aggressively to neutralise the Punjab attack which included Arshdeep Singh, Siddarth Kaul, Harpreet Brar and Abhishek Sharma.
Gaikwad, who reached his 50 from 36 balls, hit leggie Mayank Markande for a big six and then hoisted Brar for another maximum.
He also played some elegant shots on either side of the wicket during his impressive innings as Maharashtra shut out Punjab.
Earlier, Shubman Gill stroked his way to 44 off 39 balls (3 fours, 1 six) but the other Punjab batters failed to get going. The innings appeared to be struggling for momentum before Gurkeerat Singh Mann (41 off 32 balls) helped them recover and post a total of 137 in the 20 overs.
For Maharashtra, left-arm medium pacer Divyang Himganekar was the best bowler with 2 for 17 in four overs while A Palkar took 2 for 30.
In another match in the group, Tamil Nadu edged out Odisha by one run. There was some controversy in the last over bowled by T Natarajan as a boundary was not given though it appeared that the ball had touched the ropes which cost Odisha dearly.
Earlier, Tamil Nadu had posted 165 for 5 in 20 overs thanks to B Aparajith's unbeaten 44 and a cameo towards the end by M Mohammed (27 not out)
Leg-spinner Abhishek Raut, who picked up three Tamil Nadu wickets, then returned to smash 38 off 21 balls (4 fours, 1 six) but ended up on the losing side.
Punjab 137 for 6 in 20 overs (Shubman Gill 44, Gurkeerat Singh Mann 41, Divyang Himganekar 2/17) lost to Maharashtra 138 for 3 in 17.3 overs (Ruturaj Gaikwad 80, Azim Kazi 28 not out) by seven wickets.
Goa 161 for 3 in 20 overs (Aditya Kaushik 69 not out, Shubham Ranjane 29 not out) beat Pondicherry 152 for 7 in 20 overs (Paras Dogra 84 not out, Pavan Deshpande 29, Amit Yadav 3/16, Shrikant Wagh 3/38) by 9 runs.
Tamil Nadu 165 for 5 in 20 overs (B Aparajith 44 not out, N Jagadeesan 37) beat Odisha 164 for 6 in 20 overs (Subhransu Senapati 67, Abhishek Raut 38 not out, T Natarajan 2/38) by 1 run.
Rahane slams fifty as Mumbai notch 1st win; Bengal, Karnataka win 2nd games
Test vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane continued his good form with a second successive half-century as Mumbai defeated Services by 17 runs in a Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 group B clash at the Nehru Stadium in Guwahati on Friday.
The Mumbai skipper, who slammed 75 in their loss to Karnataka on Thursday, once again formed the cornerstone of their innings with a 44-ball-54 to power them to 154/7 after Services opted to bowl.
In reply, Tushar Deshpande (3/35) and Mohit Avasthi (2/19) shared five wickets between them as Mumbai restricted Services to 137/7 while registering their first win in the tournament.
Former India A player Rajat Paliwal was the top-scorer for the Services with his 49-ball 64.
Earlier, Rahane slammed four sixes and three fours and held the innings together stitching two crucial partnerships with Siddhesh Lad (21) and Shivam Dube 29).
Services left-arm spinner Vikas Yadav tightened the noose inside the Powerplay and did not allow Prithvi Shaw to break free before dismissing the Indian batsman for a 16-ball 14 in the fifth over.
Yashasvi Jaiswal (1) also fell cheaply as Mumbai were 34/2 in 6.2 overs before Rahane and Lad rebuilt the innings with smartly rotating singles.
After Lad departed, Dube accelerated the innings smashing one six and three boundaries as he along with Rahane put on 41 runs from 32 balls.
Rahane got out in the penultimate over but it was Aman Hakim Khan who kept the onslaught with his 18 off nine balls (2x4, 1x6) to take them to a challenging 154/7.
Meanwhile at the Barsapara Stadium, Bengal and Karnataka secured last over wins against their respective opponents to hold on to the top two spots in group B.
Krunal Pandya's 57 not out from 43 balls went in vain as Bengal bowlers, led by Writtick Chatterjee's tidy 4-0-14-1, stuck to their tasks to win by two runs.
Chasing 147, Baroda were going strong with 98/3 in the 16th over before Chatterjee triggered the collapse dismissing Vishnu Solanki for 13 as Baroda lost three quick wickets for 31 runs.
Baroda needed 14 runs from the last over as Mukesh Kumar held his nerves to give away 11 to fashion a thrilling last-over win.
Earlier in the day, Karnataka opener Devdutt Padikkal scored 42 while wicketkeeper batsman BR Sharath remained unbeaten on 42 to steer them to a four-wicket win with three balls to spare.
Mumbai 154/7; 20 overs (Ajinkya Rahane 54, Shivam Dube 29; Vikas Yadav 2/13, Diwesh Pathania 2/34) b Services 137/7; 20 overs (Rajat Paliwal 64; Tushar Deshpande 3/35, Mohit Avasthi 2/19) by 17 runs.
Bengal 146/7; 20 overs (Abhishek Das 35, Shahbaz Ahmed 34; Atit Sheth 3/33) beat Baroda 144/6; 20 overs (Krunal Pandya 57 not out) by 2 runs.
Chhattisgarh 145/5; 20 overs (Shashank Singh 52 not out; KC Cariappa 2/14, Krishnappa Gowtham 2/26) lost to Karnataka 146/6; 19.3 overs (Devdutt Padikkal 42, BR Sharath 42 not out; Shashank Singh 3/4, Shubham Agarwal 2/34) by 4 wickets.
Vidarbha crush Nagaland by five wickets, make it two out of two
Former Ranji champions Vidarbha defeated Nagaland by five wickets to secure their second win on the trot in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy T20 Plate group clash in Vijayawada on Friday.
Elected to bat, Nagaland batter found the going tough against some tidy bowling and smart fielding from their opponents to be restricted to a paltry 115 for eight.
Former Rajasthan wicketkeeper-batsman Chetan Bist anchored the Nagaland innings and remained at the crease till the penultimate over with a fighting 46-ball 44 (1x4, 1x6).
But Bist's effort was not enough as he lacked support at the other end with Vidarbha taking wickets at regular intervals. That three of their batters got run outs also hurt Nagaland badly.
Vidarbha chased down the target with 13 balls to spare with veteran Ganesh Satish (39) and Akshay Karnewar (35 not out) finishing the job for their team.
Vidarbha lead the plate group standings with two wins on the trot, with Tripura and Meghalaya holding the second and third spots by virtue of net run-rate.
Sikkim 112; 20 overs (Akash Choudhary 3/19, Chengkam Sangma 2/17) lost to Meghalaya 116/4; 18.1 overs (D Ravi Teja 31 not out, Larry Sangma 25 not out) by six wickets.
Arunachal Pradesh 128; 19.4 overs (Nazeeb Saiyed 32, Akhilesh Sahani 31; Bishworjit Konthoujam 4/23, Kangabam Singh 2/23, Ajay Lamabam 2/32) lost to Manipur 131/4; 18 overs (Nitesh Sedai 49) by six wickets.
Nagaland 115/8; 20 overs (Chetan Bisht 44, Rongsen Jonathan 35; Yash Thakur 2/23) lost to Vidarbha 117/5; 17.5 overs (Ganesh Satish 39, Akshay Karnewar 35 not out; Khrievitso Kense 2/27) by five wickets.
Tripura 138/7; 20 overs (Rajat Dey 82; Lalhruai Ralte 3/25, Iqbal Abdulla 2/17) b Mizoram 109/7; 20 overs (Iqbal Abdulla 46 not out; Amit Ali 3/16, Sankar Paul 2/26) by 28 runs.
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