With a fifth straight win in the competition, Punjab cruised into the quarterfinals of the 2021 Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. Leading from the front on this occasion was none other than skipper Mandeep Singh, who scored a graceful 99 not out against Tripura at the KSCA Cricket Stadium in Alur.
Batting first, Punjab managed to score 183 in their 20 overs. Uncharacteristically, they lost both their in-form openers for meagre scores, but the innings was resurrected by Mandeep Singh and Gurkeerat Singh Mann. The duo began their partnership with the score reading 36/2, and managed to elevate the score to 146 for the little over ten overs that they batted together. Both players scored a wide range of shots, registering fifties to put their team in a commanding position.
Mandeep smashed nine fours and four sixes in that innings, getting to his first fifty of the 2021 Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. The Punjab skipper played the anchor role for the time he batted with Gurkeerat, allowing his partner the freedom to play freely at a good strike rate. After his dismissal, Mandeep took on the mantle as he lit up the stadium with his power hitting. Mandeep scored 31 off the 37 runs in the final partnership of the innings, bumping the score from 146 to 183 in a span of a little over two overs.
The middle-order batsman, who represented Kings XI Punjab in the Dream11 Indian Premier League, was unfortunate to miss out on a century, ending the innings at 99 not out. Nevertheless, his big score ensured that Punjab picked up a comfortable fifth consecutive win in the competition, qualifying with ease for the semi-finals of the 2021 Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy.
Suchith stars for Karnataka
In the other afternoon game of the 2021 Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, Karnataka got past Uttar Pradesh in a low scoring thriller. A key component to that win was none other than Jagadeesha Suchith, who bowled a thrifty spell to setup his batsmen to chase down a low score.
Suchith ended with figures of 3/21 in his four overs, continuing his fine form in the competition. The left-arm spinner accounted for the wickets of Abhishek Goswami, Karan Sharma and Hardeep Singh, picking up three of the top four players in that Uttar Pradesh line-up. The win means that Karnataka end the group stages at second place, with their solitary defeat coming against Punjab.