Riding high on the back of a stupendous 61-ball 113 from Anmolpreet Singh and another stellar 27-ball 61 by Nehal Wadhera combined with four crucial wickets from pacer Arshdeep Singh, Punjab cantered to 20-run win over Baroda in the final of the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 Trophy at the IS Bindra PCA Stadium on Monday. It was the first time they have the national T20 title.
It’s ended a long wait for Punjab, who had won their last national title in 1993 when they won the Ranji Trophy.
“It is like a dream come true. The ball was coming to the bat well and I was just enjoying hitting the strokes,” said 25-year-old Anmolpreet Singh after the match.
“I always dreamt of playing for India and to win a trophy for Punjab. Have done it now. It’s a long journey, special thanks to the association who initiated the Sher-e-Punjab campaign which was a big help. Big credit to the coach (Aavishkar Salvi) who is the backbone of our team. He has instilled dedication and a lot of values in our team,” added captain Mandeep who lauded PCA’s own T20 league which took place in the off-season in Mohali.
Batting first, hosts Punjab were in a spot of bother when Baroda sent back their openers Prabhsimran Singh (0) and Abhishek Sharma (9) bringing Anmolpreet and captain Mandeep Singh to the middle.
Thereafter, the duo scored freely and put on 62 runs for Punjab before Mandeep was dismissed. He made 32 off 23 balls. From that point on, it was the Anmolpreet and Nehal Wadhera show. The pair added 129 runs to take Punjab past the 200-run mark. Anmolpreet’s knock included six sixes and 10 fours while Nehal’s had four sixes and six boundaries.
Baroda had a smashing start and they went after the Punjab bowlers from the word go. Sloppy ground fielding and dropped catches by Punjab saw Baroda dominate the chase for the first 15 overs. Opener Ninad Rathva’s 22-ball 47, Abhimanyu Rajput’s 42-ball 61 and captain Krunal Pandya’s 32-ball 45 seemed to have given Baroda an edge.
However, the 19th over bowled by left-arm medium-pacer Arshdeep which yielded three wickets including Krunal’s wicket helped Punjab get the eventual win.