A whirlwind half-century from Sumeet Verma was complemented by a three-wicket haul from Rishi Dhawan as Himachal Pradesh continued their fairytale run to enter the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy final with a 13-run win over Punjab on Thursday.
Sent in to bat, Sumeet slammed three fours and as many maximums in his 25-ball 51, while Akash Vasisht scored 43 off 24 balls, laced with four hits to the fence and two sixes to steer HP to 176 for 7.
In response, Shubman Gill made a 32-ball 45 at the top while Anmol Preet Singh (30), Mandeep Singh (29) and Ramandeep Singh (29) tried their bit but it wasn't enough as they were limited to 163-7 in their 20 overs.
Dhawan did most of the damage for Himachal as he produced the first breakthrough, dismissing opener Abhishek Sharma (1), Pukhraj Mann (10) and Ramandeep. Mayank Dagar (2/27), Kanwar Abhinay Singh (1/27) and Akash Vasisht (1/8) were also among wickets.
Himachal, the 2021-22 Vijay Hazare Trophy winners, were 32 for 2 in the powerplay but Sumeet and Akash then put on 45 off 23 balls to take the team close to the 100-mark. Once Sumeet fell to Sanvir Singh in the 13th over, Akash took the onus on himself and added another 47 off 27 with Pankaj Jaswal (27) to lift them to a competitive total. Jaswal clobbered two fours and a six in his 16-ball cameo.
Chasing the total, Punjab's innings never got going. Gill looked solid at the top as he had seven hits to the fence and a six in his innings but once he was gone, Punjab had slipped to 61 for 3 in the 10th over. Anmolpreet tried to resurrect the chase but by the time he was back in the hut, Punjab had lost half their side for 103 in the 15th over. Skipper Mandeep and Ramandeep conjured up hopes of a turnaround with a 38-run stand but it was too little too late in the end.
Shreyas steers Mumbai into SMAT final
Shreyas Iyer was at his destructive best en route to a 44-ball 73 as the mighty Mumbai made short work of the 165-run target to outplay Vidarbha by five wickets and enter the final of the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 Trophy.
Mumbai lost their skipper Ajinkya Rahane early but the in-form Prithvi Shaw (34 off 21) and Iyer ensured their team romped home in 16.5 overs. Vidarbha had made 164 for seven with wicketkeeper batter Jitesh Sharma smashing 46 not out off 24 balls.
Mumbai will meet Himachal Pradesh in the final on Saturday.
Iyer showed ominous touch and warmed up nicely for the limited-overs tour of New Zealand later this month. His knock comprised seven fours and four sixes. Sarfaraz Khan also chipped in with 27 off 19 balls.
Shivam Dube finished the game with a couple of sixes to remain unbeaten on 13 off four balls.
"I am happy that I took it till the end. My mindset was to stay in the attacking mode. The dew factor played an important part as well. We tried to punish the loose balls. The spinners also didn't get much turn," said Iyer after the semifinal at the Eden Gardens.
He also praised Shaw for his cameo at the top of the order. "When Prithvi was batting, you always keep getting runs. We told him to stay at least till the first six overs. Few of our good batters didn't get a start. I was connecting almost on everything.
"I missed out on a few shots in the last game. The opposition is always under pressure in a game like this. HP have done well as well. You can't underestimate anyone. It is important to execute the plan on the given day," Iyer said, referring to Mumbai's opponents in the final.