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Delhi, Rajasthan to lock horns in T20 final

25th January 2018
Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy is all set to get a new champion with finaliats Delhi and Rajasthan making their maiden entry for the top slot in the shortest format of the game.
Delhi beat Uttar Pradesh in Group B, while in Group A Rajasthan lost to Punjab but reached the final by virtue of a better net run rate in two virtual semi-final matches today.
Delhi and Rajasthan will now meet at the Eden Gardens under lights for the summit clash here on Friday.
At the Eden, Punjab had to restrict Rajasthan to 106 or below after posting 129/9 batting first, but eventually beat them by five runs. Rajasthan managed 124/8 as both teams finished on 12 points.
Meanwhile Delhi (12 points) became the first side to advance to the final, winning a thrilling three-run contest against Uttar Pradesh (8 points) at the Jadavpur University campus ground.
At the Eden, electing to field first, the tournament's highest wicket taker Deepak Chahar (2/9) continued his fiery form removing Punjab openers Manan Vohra (20) and Mandeep Singh (1) in his first two overs before pulling his hamstring in the final ball of his second over.
Mandeep was the first one to go, Chahar getting him lbw before Vohra, after smashing 15 off the first over off Aniket Choudhary (1/34), wasted his brisk start by going down the crease and trying to play a rash drive, getting caught behind to wicketkeeper Chetan Bist in the process. The big-hitting Gurkeerat Mann (1) followed suit along with Yuvraj Singh (4) whose poor run continued.
Tottering at 44/4, skipper Harbhajan Singh (32 off 31) and Sharad Lumba tried to stem the rot with a 24-run stand for the fifth wicket before the off-spin great departed.
Lumba (31) and Abhishek Gupta (12) then added another 34 runs to give the total some respectability.
In reply, the Rajasthan batsmen faltered with only Ankit Lamba (47) getting runs. Sran (3/22) was Punjab's best bowler and was complemented well by Manpreet Singh (2/20).
As the target was low, the match went down to the wire with 12 needed off the last over but Chahar (15) -- playing despite the injury -- tried hard to put up a fight along with Choudhary (4 not out).

Arindam Basu