Baroda secured their place in the 2021 Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy final with a fabulous win over Punjab in Ahmedabad in the second semi-final of the tournament.
Skipper Kedar Devdhar, Kartik Kakade, Lukman Meriwala and Ninad Rathva starred for Baroda as the two-time champions ended Punjab's six-match winning streak.
Batting first at the newly-rebuilt Motera Stadium, Baroda posted 160/3 on the board, with Devdhar and Kakade scoring half-centuries. In response, Meriwala picked up a three-wicket haul, while Rathva returned with figures of 2/18 to restrict Punjab to 135/8.
Brief scores Baroda 160/3 (Kedar Devdhar 64, Kartik Kakade 53*; Mayank Markande 29/1) beat Punjab 135/8 (Mandeep Singh 42*, Gurkeerat Singh Mann 39; Lukman Meriwala 28/3, Ninad Rathva 18/2) by 25 runs.
Punjab lost their opener Abhishek Sharma (5 off 7) early in the run-chase. The in-form Prabh Simran Singh (15 off 11) also joined him in the dressing room soon thereafter as Lukman Meriwala reduced Punjab to 21/2 after four overs.
Mandeep Singh's efforts in vain as Punjab crash out of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy
Anmolpreet Singh (15 off 19) and Gurkeerat Singh Mann (39 off 37) tried to stabilise the Punjab innings. However, their slow strike rate put pressure on the finishers. Mandeep Singh tried his best to keep Punjab's winning streak alive. However, his 24-ball 42* was not enough to take his team over the line.
Apart from Meriwala and Ninad Rathva, Atit Sheth (1/36), Babashafi Pathan (1/25) and Kartik Kakade (1/5) were successful in taking wickets for Baroda.
Earlier in the evening, Kedar Devdhar played a captain's knock for Baroda, smacking 64 off 49 deliveries, hitting four fours and three maximums.
Ninad Rathva (15 off 15) and Vishnu Solanki (12 off 12) chipped in with run-a-ball knocks. Kartik Kakade (53 off 41) provided an excellent finish to the Baroda innings, while Atit Sheth scored a 3-ball 9* to take Baroda's score past 150.
Baroda will now clash with Tamil Nadu in the final on Sunday in Ahmedabad.