Punjab made little fuss of a low total and successfully chased Karnataka’s target inside 13 overs to reach the semi-finals of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. Simran Singh top-scored for the winners, and was admirably supported by Mandeep Singh, who played the anchor role.
Earlier in the day, an all-round bowling performance had seen them bowl out a hapless Karnataka side for just 87. Punjab’s spinners and pacers stepped up to the occasion and made the defending champions pay for their poor shot selection.
Brief scores Punjab 89/1 (Simran Singh 49*, Mandeep Singh 35*; Abhimanyu Mithun 11/1) beat Karnataka 87 all out (Aniruddha Joshi 27, Shreyas Gopal 13; Siddharth Kaul 15/3, Arshdeep Singh 16/2) by 9 wickets.
Punjab didn’t begin the chase in ideal circumstances, losing Abhishek Sharma in the first over. But Simran and Mandeep Singh steadied things after the nervy start, scoring at a good pace.
The duo mainly dealt in boundaries, and with no run rate pressure, raced to 40/1 in the powerplay. Simran Singh was particularly impressive and cleared the boundary effortlessly on multiple occasions.
Karnataka’s bowlers didn’t have much to play with, and it showed in their bowling. The Punjab batsmen had an answer for everything that came their way, as they kept the scoreboard ticking with singles and the odd boundary.
With the chase coming to an end, it was a case of whether Simran Singh would be able to reach his 50 or not. The 20-year-old came agonisingly close to the feat, ultimately falling short by 1 run, despite hitting the winning runs with a slog over mid-wicket.
With the win, Punjab made their way to the semis comprehensively. The bowlers will have their tails up after an outstanding performance. With both spinners and pacers performing, they will be confident about their chances when they take on the winner from the Haryana vs Baroda game.
For Karnataka, it is the end of their title defense. The side would be disappointed with their display in the quarter-final, as none of the players took responsibility while batting first. Ultimately they never had a score that could trouble Punjab.
Poor shot selection led to Karnataka's 1st innings collapse
Coming into the contest as the defending champions, few would have expected the performance Karnataka put up. Batting first, the side kept losing wickets at regular intervals, and never truly got going.
On a wicket that had good bounce, the batsmen were expected to score big. But a combination of impressive bowling and poor batting meant that Karnataka were bundled out for just 87.
The collapse started with Karun Nair, whose poor form continued as Sandeep Sharma drew first blood in the 3rd over. Siddharth Kaul’s double-wicket maiden then sent the Karnataka top-order packing, as Devdutt Padikkal and Pavan Deshpande played some rash shots.
The pacers left Karnataka reeling at 37/4 after the power play, and it was the slower bowlers who next choked the team in the middle overs. Just when it looked like Karnataka were stitching together a revival, courtesy of Shreyas Gopal and Aniruddha Joshi, Ramandeep Singh got the former.
Joshi was the only batsman whose blushes were spared, as he patiently made his way to a 34-ball 27. But his resistance was ended by Mayank Markande, as he got bowled trying to up the run rate.
The pacers came back to clean up the tail, with Kaul, Sharma, and Singh bagging a wicket each.